Bethany Blankley | The Center Square contributor
(The Center Square) – After experiencing low fuel costs last year in most parts of the country, gas prices have now hit a new seven-year high nationwide.
The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline for the week of Aug. 2 was $3.159, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) weekly retail gasoline and diesel prices report.
According to GasBuddy head petroleum analyst Patrick De Haan, the national average is $3.19 a gallon, the highest it’s been since Oct. 12, 2014.
In one week, prices rose by more than two cents, with the highest prices in California ($4.213), and in San Francisco specifically ($4.322), the EIA reports.
According to the American Automobile Association, gas prices are expected to rise as long as crude oil prices remain over $70 per barrel.
“On average, motorists are paying 15 cents more to fill up since the beginning of May,” AAA spokesperson Jeanette McGee said. “August could prove to be even more expensive if crude oil prices increase, driven by market concerns of rising COVID case numbers and how that could negatively affect global demand in the near future.”
At the close of formal trading Friday, the West Texas Index increased by 33 cents to $73.95.
Crude prices were also bolstered after EIA’s latest report showed a total domestic crude stock decline of 4.1 million bbl to 435.6 million bbl. Crude prices are expected to go higher if the EIA reports another decline in total domestic crude supply.
States that saw their prices increase the most in the last week, AAA notes, are Delaware (+10 cents), Nevada (+6 cents), Maryland (+6 cents), Illinois (+6 cents), Wyoming (+6 cents), Idaho (+6 cents), Montana (+5 cents), North Dakota (+4 cents), California (+4 cents) and Ohio (+4 cents).
The ten states with relatively low gas prices compared to others, according to AAA, include Mississippi ($2.78), Louisiana ($2.81), Texas ($2.83), Alabama ($2.84), Arkansas ($2.86), Missouri ($2.86), Oklahoma ($2.89), South Carolina ($2.89), Tennessee ($2.89) and Kentucky ($2.92).
De Haan suggests that gas prices will taper off in a week or two after people return from vacation or don’t return to work in person in the fall.