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Higher demand, limited supply pushes gas prices up

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Posted at 12:10 PM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 13:51:22-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Gas prices have moved up steadily in the past few weeks, and experts predict they will remain higher, but steady, through the summer.

AAA says Americans are paying 14% more at the pump compared to February.

Following last month's winter storm in Texas, the national gas price average jumped nearly 40 cents to $2.86.

"With the increased demand and tighter gasoline supplies, we are looking at more expensive pump prices with little relief in the weeks ahead," said Jeanette McGee, AAA spokesperson.

The price of crude, which accounts for more than half of the price at the pump, showed signs of stability, fluctuating between $64 to $66 per barrel. If crude stays at that level, especially as refinery use increases, the jumps at the pump are likely to be not as substantial by April.

AAA reports that nationally gas prices were $2.77 last week, $2.50 one month ago, and $2.26 last year at this time.

Economist Chris Kuehl, who is local to the Kansas City area, said prices jumped because the economy's rebound was quicker than most predicted, and refineries and stockpiles were not prepared for the demand.

Kuehl added that he expects an early midsummer drop in price to the $2.00 to $2.50 per gallon range, and expects that to be the norm for the summer.

AAA also expects a heavy driving season, as residents will work to get out and explore as COVID-19 restrictions ease, vaccines become more available and summer arrives.