KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Pull up to the pump and you might be caught off guard - gas is more expensive than you thought.
At one Northland HyVee gas station, gas was $2.99 on Jan. 16, then jumped to $3.15 on Jan. 23.
"Gas prices have been rising, really, since late last year," Nick Chabarria, spokesperson for the Missouri American Automobile Association, said. "We saw a dip around the November, December time frame and really since the start of the year, they've been on the rise or at least holding steady where they were at."
AAA said this is because of crude oil supply and demand.
"Kind of at the height of the pandemic, in 2020 at least, we saw crude prices really drop off. I mean, at one point in April they were trading in the negatives, which is highly unusual," Chabarria said. "Then as demand started picking up as people started to travel, the vaccines rolled out, things kind of subsided with COVID, that's when we saw a return for gasoline demand and, subsequently, an increase of crude oil prices."
Overseas oil producers eased up on oil production at the beginning of the pandemic, when people weren't driving so much.
The Missouri statewide average cost for gas is at $3.04 per gallon, about 92 cents higher than this time last year. In Kansas, the average is $3.07, about 88 cents more than last year.
Looking at the maps of Kansas and Missouri on AAA's website, prices vary significantly depending on the county. Jackson, Platte, Clay and Cass counties are among the highest in Missouri. Johnson, Wyandotte, Miami and Douglas have some of the most expensive gas in Kansas.
However, both states have some of the lowest gas prices in the country. California drivers have it the worst, paying $4.64 a gallon.
"The major factor when you're comparing state by state is the fuel tax rate, overhead cost for actually getting gasoline to gas stations, how many different distributors in the states and things like that," Chabarria said.
Global issues, such as a fire in a pipeline that runs from Iraq to Turkey and tensions with Ukraine, contribute to higher gas prices.
AAA doesn't anticipate gas prices will go down in the short term.
The Biden administration announced in late November they would release 50 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to offset costs, in conjunction with other countries. The U.S. Department of Energy announced they'd release about 18 million barrels since then.
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