WASHINGTON, D.C. – If you’ve been to the gas pumps recently, you’ve probably noticed prices are a lot higher. Analysts said the average price is currently at it’s highest mark since 2014.
We spoke with representatives with Gas Buddy and AAA as well as local congressional members on why the prices have climbed and what solutions there are to curb the price increases.
People are feeling the pain at the pumps. According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of gas has surged to $3.45. The last time it was this high was back in 2014.
Comparing New York’s and Pennsylvania’s current average, we’re paying almost 20 cents more than the national average. And looking at this time last year, we’re now paying almost a dollar more per gallon.
“The prices are up right now because the price of oil is up,” said Andrew Gross with AAA.
We spoke with people from AAA and Gas Buddy. They blame geopolitical tensions as the main cause.
“The threat of a major European land war with Russia invading Ukraine has really caused a lot of concern for oil producers mainly because the west will sanction Russia and Russia in return will withhold oil from the global market and the global market is already pretty tight,” said Gross.
And they said with the vaccine roll out and more people out and about, it has increased demand with supply still tight.
“A year ago much of the economy was still broadly shutdown, restaurants bars a lot of them were shut down,” said Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum analysis at Gas Buddy.
Representative Fred Keller (R-PA) said we need to continue the exploration of federal lands, work with oil companies and stop relying on other countries.
“We need to have an America first energy policy because we know it works, we need to get back to American energy independence,” said Keller.
Senator Bob Casey (D- PA) is urging President Biden to tap into the nation’s strategic oil reserves and is pushing to pass legislation like the child tax credit, which will put more money in family’s pockets.
“We should make sure the families have the resources they need so when there’s an economic shock to the system, whether its gas prices or otherwise, they have the resources to cushion that blow,” said Casey.
Analysts also want to debunk some myths about the price increase. Some congressional members blame Biden canceling the Keystone XL pipeline as one reason, but the analysts say that is false because pipelines don’t produce oil, only transport it. And the current pipelines are already being underutilized. The claim that the pause on new drilling leases on federal lands as another reason is not quite true. Analysts said that impact wouldn’t be felt for the current increase but we could see that moratorium’s impact years later down the road.