Every single day in October and beginning in the last days of September, gas prices have risen — 27 days in a row. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), the average price is $3.38 a gallon, a rise of approximately 20 cents per gallon.
“With the U.S. economy slowly recovering from the depths of the pandemic, demand for gas is robust, but the supply is tight,” Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, said in a blog on the association’s website. “We haven’t seen prices this high since September of 2014.”
The recent rise in the pump price is due to higher demand coupled with a decline in stocks alongside elevated crude prices. Global oil production is still below pre-pandemic levels. According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by 5.4 million bbl to 217.7 million bbl last week. However, gasoline demand increased from 9.19 million b/d to 9.63 million b/d. Since the cost of oil accounts for more than half of the pump price, consumers will be paying more as long as crude prices remain high.
Today’s national average of $3.38 is 20 cents more than a month ago and $1.22 more than a year ago, and 77 cents more than in 2019.
AAA lists the nation’s top ten largest weekly increases, which are mainly in the eastern United States: North Carolina (+14 cents), Florida (+14 cents), Arizona (+12 cents), Rhode Island (+11 cents), New York (+11 cents), New Hampshire (+10 cents), Connecticut (+10 cents), New Jersey (+10 cents), Pennsylvania (+9 cents), and Texas (+9 cents).
The nation’s top ten most expensive markets are mostly in the western United States, with the exception of Pennsylvania and the nation’s capital: California ($4.54), Hawaii ($4.26), Nevada ($3.92), Washington ($3.87), Oregon ($3.78), Alaska ($3.72), Idaho ($3.71), Utah ($3.68), Washington, DC, ($3.57), and Pennsylvania ($3.56).
The GasBuddy website, however, sees a “light at the end of the tunnel.”
“Gas prices continued to soar in a majority of the nation over the last week as oil’s meteoric rise pulls gasoline and other refined product prices higher,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy said. “But, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel.”
“The sharp rise we’ve seen over the last three weeks should begin slowing down soon, barring another jump in the price of oil,” De Haan said. “This is because gasoline prices have now largely caught up to the jump in oil that started nearly a month ago.”
“This isn’t an all clear for the future, however, as oil prices could rise again at any time,” DeHaan said. “But for now, oil has held around $83 per barrel, and without a further climb, gas price increases should slow down soon in the bulk of the nation.”
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