The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic isn’t over yet, but gasoline prices are behaving as though it is. Rising oil prices and last week’s Texas refinery shutdowns have rocketed prices at the pump higher.
The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey shows the national average price of regular gasoline is $2.69 a gallon, nine cents higher than last Friday. Over the last two weeks, prices have climbed an average of 19 cents a gallon and are that much higher than they were before the pandemic.
The average price of premium gas is $3.26 a gallon, 10 cents higher than last week. The average price of diesel fuel is $2.90, 12 cents higher than last week.
Gas prices normally start to rise at this time of year because of seasonal factors, such as a switch over to summer grade fuel production. But last week’s frigid temperatures and electricity blackouts in Texas have accelerated the trend.
“When close to 40 percent of U.S. crude production is offline because refineries are closed, there is going to be pain at the pump until operations resume,” said Jeanette Casselano McGee, AAA’s spokesperson. “The good news is the nearly two dozen impacted refiners are expected to restart operations this week if they haven’t already. That means regular gasoline deliveries will resume and impacted stations will be re-fueled.”
But that may or may not bring down prices, since crude oil prices continue to move higher. West Texas Intermediate crude is trading north of $63 a barrel for the first time in over a year.
Every state reported higher fuel prices this week, with the biggest gains in states where gas is the cheapest. All 10 states with the cheapest gas prices in the country reported double-digit increases in the statewide average price of regular.
The states with the most expensive gas
These states currently have the highest prices for regular gas, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Survey:
New Jersey ($2.79)
New York ($2.73)
The states with the cheapest regular gas
The survey found these states currently have the lowest prices for regular gas:
South Carolina ($2.45)