Gas prices going up as states begin to relax stay-at-home orders during coronavirus


Gas prices have increased more than 5 cents a gallon in the past week, bringing the national average to $1.96 a gallon, according to GasBuddy.com.

The price escalations are primarily caused by demand, which is increasing now that parts of the country are loosening restrictions brought by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Average gasoline prices across the U.S. continue to recover as more motorists take back to the roads as states relax previous shelter-in-place orders and begin filling their tanks, driving demand to continue rising,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

“Since demand is a major ingredient in what drives gasoline prices and demand is likely to continue to rebound, it is also pushing the price of both crude oil and gas prices higher. Unfortunately, thus far, refiners have started to input more crude oil into their refineries, but there has been some lag as refiners remain cautious on flooding the market with unwanted products. As long as COVID-19 cases continue to drop over time and provinces re-open, I suspect it is only a matter of time before the average price hits the $2 per gallon mark again – which could happen as early as this week.”

Crude oil prices also continued to rebound, another factor that drives gas prices.

“Crude oil prices continued to rally over the last week, though the increase was smaller than previous weeks. In early Tuesday trade, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil was fetching $34.15 per barrel, up from $32.08 a week ago. Brent crude oil was also higher, at $36.19 in early Tuesday trade, up from $34.50 a week ago. The rally in crude oil comes as production continues to drop to meet reduced global demand, and while demand has begun to recover, pushing the needle of prices higher. Most U.S. states have begun to re-open, and with gasoline being the number one fuel of consumers, oil is getting a boost,” said GasBuddy.

The lowest price for gas in the Harrisburg area is $1.95 at Sunoco at North Front Street and Houser Road and $1.99 a gallon at Costco in Lower Paxton Twp. and Sunoco at Jonestown Road and Prince St.

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