Why Are Gas Prices Rising Right Now?

Mar 12, 2021, 7:29 AM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A month ago, the sign at your local gas station may have read $2.45 a gallon.

Now, we’re flirting with $3 per gallon. So what’s happening?

Currently, the national average for a gallon of gas is about $2.80. States are grouped together in regions according to gasoline distribution, and the Western states are always the most expensive.

Utah’s Intermountain Region is typically right behind.

Geography has something to do with how much it costs to fill your tank. The Gulf Coast states always have less expensive gas because they refine more than half of all of the supply for the United States. Demand in the area is well below that amount.

However, that doesn’t explain why gas is going up for everyone – from Houston to Hurricane.

Within the past 18 months, gas prices plummeted due to low demand as the pandemic put a halt on travel before jumping up to pre-pandemic levels within the last month or so.

The last time the Wasatch Front was below $2 a gallon within the last five years was March of 2016. The highest point – pushing $3 per gallon – happened in 2018.

It’s true that politics and legislation has an impact, but most of the steep ups and downs have to do with other factors.

Right now, the U.S. is at 56% refining capacity, which is the lowest on record. And the recent weather in Texas hasn’t helped.

The oil-producing nations that slashed production when the pandemic started also just announced they aren’t in a hurry to start pumping crude again. This has created an artificially low supply.

Demand is also booming as states open back up, and the more expensive summer blend of gasoline makes the upcoming months cost more.

It’s easy to point fingers and blame those in power, but who has the power to adjust gas prices? That’s where things get complicated.

History shows the gas price rollercoaster can be a bumpy ride, and it looks like the U.S. is on the climb up to the top right now.

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Why Are Gas Prices Rising Right Now?