BusinessStacy M. Brown

Gasoline Prices Expected to Rise Through August

At the Shell gas station on Benning Road in southeast D.C., the price of gas is $2.99 per gallon – about 15 cents lower than the national average of $3.14.

It is also about 10 cents more than at Costco on Market Street in Northeast.

But over the past year, prices have changed almost as often as one changes socks or underwear or brushes their teeth. Just a year ago, with people home because of the pandemic, a gallon of gas in the U.S. cost $2.18 on average. Now, the average hovers somewhere around $3.13. per gallon.

And based on a report issued last week by AAA, gas prices have been predicted to rise another 10 to 20 cents through the end of August.

“Robust gasoline demand and more expensive crude oil prices are pushing gas prices higher,” Jeanette McGee, an AAA representative, said in a statement. “We had hoped that global crude production increases would bring some relief at the pump this month, but weekend OPEC negotiations fell through with no agreement reached.”

From OPEC to natural gas pipelines, speculation continues as to why gas prices, which normally increase during the summer due to higher demand, have undergone such extreme spikes in cost.

“This demand is combined with the increase in inflation as well as the multiple repercussions from COVID-19,” Karen Condor, a travel expert with AutoInsurance.org, told The Informer.

“Demand is even higher this year as businesses reopen and the number of travelers and trips surges,” Condor said. “And supply is lower this year since oil production was slashed last year by the OPEC cartels and its allies, as prices tanked from lack of demand.”

Miranda Yan, co-founder of software development company VinPit, noted the average $3.72 price per gallon in Alaska.

“The price started increasing from the second week in February,” Yan stated. “The factor for this sudden drift would be seasonal gasoline demand. U.S. demand for gasoline is generally at its lowest during the first two months of the year, so the refinery maintenance or turnaround is organized during this time.”

Yan noted that the transition season for fuel production typically occurs from April to June.

“Refineries direct this transition and switch over to summer-blend output in March and April,” she said. “Summer-blend fuel is also more costly to make than winter-blend fuel.”

While motorists on the east coast complain of slowly rising gas prices, those out west have endured whopping increases.

According to AAA, Washington has seen one of the most significant spikes, with the price of regular gasoline rising 20 cents in the past month to $3.81.

In California, $4.31 per gallon has become the state’s average.

Still, many remain philosophical about the rise in prices.

“Global factors of supply and demand are driving the price rises. I am sure. In the retail price of gasoline, the cost of crude oil is the most important element,” said Naomi Stone, a development manager at Room Service 360.

Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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