WABASH VALLEY (WTHI) - Gas prices are on the rise nationwide. The national average for a gallon of gas is around two dollars and sixty cents. Experts say this is the highest it has reached since early 2020.
There are a few important reasons why gas prices are climbing. The cold freeze in Texas is one of those factors, especially in the short term.
According to Statista, Texas is by far the largest oil-producing state in the nation.
"So much capacity shut down it is having a wide effect coast to coast," Patrick de Haan, head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy, said.
According to De Haan, one-fifth of all refinery capacity nationwide stopped due to the extreme winter weather in the south. In the fall the price of an oil barrel was $35. Now the price is up to $60.
Experts say the recent cold weather in the south will affect gas and oil prices only temporarily. Looking at the long term, the biggest reason prices are on the rise again is because more people are eager to travel.
"A lot of Americans are going to be more comfortable with getting out,” De Haan said. “We've been under lockdown now for a long period of time. There is a lot of cabin fever happening that could boost demand. A lot of Americans could be hitting the road this summer."
Oil companies lost billions of dollars last year because of COVID-19. Many facilities do not want to increase production due to the unpredictable recovery from the pandemic. This is leading to a major supply and demand problem.
"As long as the country continues to mend from COVID, that is what is boosting prices.”
Many local residents are responding to these price increases with frustration and hesitation to travel more.
“It costs a lot to fill up so it keeps me pretty much at home," Jade McCurdy, local resident, said.
Experts believe gas prices will not reach any record-breaking high prices this year. However, prices will still likely be on the rise, especially this summer.