No matter who is to blame, gas prices continue to rise

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, February 15, 2022

American Automobile Association data reports that consumers are now paying the most at the pump since Sept. 10, 2014, according to a CNBC report Feb. 8.

Newsweek magazine said blame Russia’s Putin, while others blamed President Joe Biden. All consumers want to do for sure is to get prices down, regardless of who is at fault.

That’s not likely, an AAA expert said Monday.

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Monday’s national average for a gallon of gas is $3.48, four more cents than last week, 18 cents more than a month ago and 98 cents more than last year. While the main reason gas prices are so high at the pump is said to be because of the high cost of crude oil, other reasons factor in, such as winter weather, COVID-19 issues and Ukraine’s situation with Russia.

AAA’s Andrew Gross said the situation seems to be at a stand still. “Unfortunately for consumers, it does not appear that this trend will change anytime soon,” he said Monday.

AAA reported new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reflected that total domestic gasoline stocks dropped by 1.6 million bbl to 248.4 million bbl last week, while gasoline demand rose from 8.23 million b/d to 9.13 million b/d. The report added that gas prices will probably increase as demand grows and crude oil prices remain above $90 per barrel.

By Monday, Gas Buddy reported that “gas prices reached a seven-year high as tensions between Russia and Ukraine make the oil market even tighter.” The national average is up 16.5 cents from a month ago and 97.2 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 8.9 cents in the last week to $3.87 per gallon, the highest since July 2014.

“The jump in gasoline prices has continued unabated as oil prices continue to push higher, reaching $94 per barrel last week on continued concern over the possible imminent threat that Russia may invade Ukraine,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, on the entity’s website. “Not only are oil prices up, but the bulk of the nation is starting the multi-month transition to summer gasoline, further adding to the rise at the pump. In addition, cold weather in Texas last week caused some power outages at major refineries, further weighing on markets. I see no other potentials in the short term but additional price increases unless Russia does an about-face on Ukraine. Even then, we’ll still see seasonality push prices up, so motorists should be ready to dig deeper.”

The states with the lowest average prices: Oklahoma ($3.11), Mississippi ($3.13), and Texas ($3.13). The states with the highest prices: California ($4.68), Hawaii ($4.44), and Washington ($3.93).