Gas prices heading higher across Texas

2:26 p.m Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 Business
RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Gas prices in Texas have gone up recently as part of a surge in the oil market that has pushed costs higher across the country.

The average price of unleaded fuel in Texas was $2.35 per gallon as of Thursday, a 26-cent increase over the same week last year, according to auto club AAA Texas.

In Austin, the average price was $2.35 per gallon, up 26 cents year-over-year and a 21-cent jump since Dec. 21, according to AAA Texas data.

Prices are seeing the effect of consumption finally catching up and surpassing production after OPEC began last year to limit oil production. Prices of crude oil in New York on Thursday were $60.92 per barrel, down since earlier this month but still at the highest rates seen since 2014.

U.S. oil production has experienced an uptick this year, likely causing the slight decrease in oil prices recently, but it has not been enough to offset the overall global cuts in production that are driving the gas price surge, said Patrick Dehaan of online gas database Gasbuddy.com.

“Gas prices will remain higher than last year,” Dehaan said. “Motorists will probably shell out a couple hundred dollars more.”

While gas prices throughout Texas have increased, they still remain the lowest in the country, with the national average price at $2.60 per gallon as of Thursday.

The national gas price average has increased for the sixth consecutive week, AAA Texas said, with that trend likely continuing as refineries continue to limit the amount of gas being produced. The national average is up 34 cents year-over-year, though it is still well below record levels seen in 2008 during the recession.

“Texas will continue to be among nation’s lower-priced states since it’s in close proximity to oil refineries,” Dehaan said. “Texas has been fairly consistent with the country.”

Crude oil prices are still recovering following a crash in 2014 that saw prices plummet from more than $100 a barrel to just over $40 by the beginning of 2015 as global production outweighed demand.

Fort Worth, Arlington and Lubbock have the state’s lowest gas prices this week, at $2.29 per gallon. Any relief to prices will likely be short-lived, Dehaan said.

“We may get a two- or three-week window where prices will decline but that window will probably close as refineries begin maintenance soon in preparation for the summer driving prices,” Dehaan said.