Gas prices jump 10 cents a gallon this week

Photo (c) Evgeniy Kleymenov EyeEm - Getty Images

Frigid Texas weather that closed refineries caused most of the spike

The price of gasoline continued its march higher this week, propelled in large part by frigid Texas weather that shut down many Gulf Coast refineries.

The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey shows the national average price of regular gas is $2.60 a gallon, 10 cents higher than last Friday. The price is now 15 cents more than it was a year ago. The average price of premium gas is also eight cents a gallon higher than a week ago, at $3.16 a gallon. The average price of diesel fuel is $2.82 a gallon, up from $2.74 last week.

Prices were already moving higher because of rising oil prices, but the Texas deep freeze sped up the move. Major refineries that together produce more than 1 million barrels of gasoline a day were shut down for a time because of rolling blackouts throughout the state.

The refineries may quickly recover, but motorists should expect gas prices to drop. AAA says crude oil accounts for more than 50 percent of the price at the pump, and those prices are steadily rising, even while demand remains flat. 

Two factors are driving prices higher. OPEC and other oil producers have successfully reduced production to dry up surpluses. Oil traders are also betting that the end of the pandemic will lead to a strong economic recovery.

As a result, AAA reports that nearly 40 state gas price averages are already higher than last year, with half of those averages seeing double-digit increases.

The states with the most expensive gas

These states currently have the highest prices for regular gas, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Survey:

  • California ($3.57)

  • Hawaii ($3.39)

  • Washington ($2.94)

  • Pennsylvania ($2.86)

  • Nevada ($2.84)

  • Oregon ($2.81)

  • Illinois ($2.77)

  • Alaska ($2.73)

  • New Jersey ($2.71)

  • New York ($2.64)

The states with the cheapest regular gas

The survey found these states currently have the lowest prices for regular gas:

  • Mississippi ($2.20)

  • Texas ($2.24)

  • Louisiana ($2.25)

  • Arkansas ($2.28)

  • Alabama ($2.29)

  • Missouri ($2.30)

  • Oklahoma ($2.30)

  • South Carolina ($2.34)

  • Tennessee ($2.34)

  • Kansas ($2.36)

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