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US gas prices to keep rising as demand is highest since August, experts say

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During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, energy costs hit all-time lows as roads and airports were nearly deserted.

It’s impossible not to notice the rising costs at fuel pumps, where gas prices are up more than a dollar per gallon from a year ago.

And as the prices are rising, so too is the demand. The demand for gas Wednesday was at its highest level since Aug. 25, according to GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan.

The average price per gallon of gas in the United States was $3.36 as of Thursday, AAA reported. To put that into perspective, no states had gas that expensive this time last year, and only two states had prices above $3.00 per gallon, according to AAA data.

There are no states in the country with an average cost of gas below $3.00 per gallon, AAA data shows.

“Compared to the price of gas a year ago, it now costs consumers about $17 more to fill up their vehicles,” AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross said. “That’s the cost of a large pizza with toppings. And unfortunately, it doesn’t look like drivers will be finding relief at the pump any time soon.”

Gas Prices South Dakota

The per-gallon prices for gasoline and diesel fuel illuminate a sign at a filling station Oct. 8, 2021, in Mitchell, South Dakota.

Motorists are spending $488 million more per day on gas than they were this time last year, De Haan said. Prices are at their highest levels since 2014, the gas analyst said.

Gas is most expensive in California, where the average cost per gallon is $4.53 — up $1.33 from a year ago. In Gorda, Calif., a town with just one gas station, drivers were forced to pay a pricey $7.59 per gallon for regular unleaded gas this week, KFSN reported.

The rising cost of crude oil worldwide is driving the increase in gas prices, experts say.

“Supply-demand balances show that the market is experiencing a supply deficit, which is spurring deep inventory draws and driving prices upwards,” Louise Dickson, senior oil markets analyst at Rystad Energy, told Reuters. “This market tightness is expected to extend into most of 2022, and crude oil supply will only catch up with crude demand by the fourth quarter of next year.”

This week, oil topped $86 a barrel, which CNBC reported is “driven by tight supply and a global energy crunch.”

More than half of the cost of gas is attributed to the cost of crude oil, AAA spokesperson Mary Maguire told WBZ.

“It’s important to remember that in August, for example, when gasoline prices at the pump were far lower, we were looking at crude closing on a daily basis in the low 60s,” she said. “That $20 increase in the price of a barrel of oil is really what’s driving up prices at the pump.”


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