While the country was under lockdown and shuttered at home restriction ordered by [then] Donald J. Trump in April of last year, the price of gasoline plummeted to the lowest level. But in the past few months as U.S. vaccination rollout continues, people have felt safer leaving their homes which has increased demand for fuel. As a result, the average retail price for gas was set at $1.94 [per gallon] but have increased to around $2.90 [per gallon] up about 2% from a year ago according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Expert says as summer approaches, prices could go even higher and it is expected to stick around.
Nick Loris, an economist at the Heritage Foundation who focuses on energy and environmental policy, told the Washington Examiner on Monday that the major factor in the gas-price equation is increase on demand. Loris believes that more people are getting comfortable with traveling now. And airlines are reporting in past weeks, people are making travel plans; and millions of people are passing through the gates to catch flights. Thus, airline travel is reaching pre-pandemic levels taking spring and summer vacations. Consequently, that demand is driving up prices at the pump Loris said. “ As more economies both in the U.S. and around the world comes out of lockdown, that’s going to put even more upward pressure on prices as the demand for fuel continues to rise.”
Another reason why gas prices have been on the rise is because of the season. Gasoline blends in the summer are different than those used in the winter, and costs can increase as refineries begin to make the transition. And summer-blend fuel is more costly to produce than winter-blend fuel. Loris says that typically when refineries are doing maintenance—shutting down some of their refineries as they switch from winter blends to summer blends to comply with air-quality regulation.