Gas prices are still fluctuating to their highest levels in nearly a decade, as new data shows that fuel demand reached a pandemic peak last week amid the resurgence of consumer travel and the shortage of gas that many states Southeast still face, but experts believe that prices may fall again in the coming days.
Despite the widespread scarcity caused by Colonial Pipeline’s five-day shutdown, demand for gasoline in the U.S. reached a new pandemic peak last week, increasing 0.6% from the previous week amid an increase fueled by an influx of business reopening, according to GasBuddy Dice released Sunday.
Meanwhile, average gasoline prices in the U.S. have also skyrocketed, from $ 3 per gallon for the first time since 2014 on Wednesday and climbing continuously every day since then, hitting around $ 3.04 on Saturday, according to data from GasBuddy and AAA.
Gas prices rose about 18 cents last month across the country, according to the AAA, but the southeastern states hardest hit by the recent scarcity have seen even greater declines, with prices in North Carolina – where 59 % of gas stations are still out of gas – rising more than 30 cents per gallon in the previous month.
As of 1 pm East, AAA shows that prices are practically stable on Sunday, while GasBuddy is showing almost 1 cent decline.
However, there were promising developments: all but three of the 16 states on the East Coast affected by the closure of the gas pipeline saw the gas shortage improve or remain the same on Saturday, which also marked the third consecutive day of falling demand for fuel. all over the country.
In a Sunday email, Patrick De Haan, head of oil analysis at GasBuddy, said he expects prices to drop to less than $ 3 a gallon in the next week or so as price increases in some areas in the Southeast are falling thanks to the resumption of Colonial operations.
“The shutdown contributed to increases in gas prices, which were already rising due to higher oil prices and demand before Memorial Day, “wrote an AAA spokesman by email on Sunday.” The price increases related to the cyber attack occurred mainly in the affected areas on the east coast, but … it is important to note that the factor that drives the most expensive gas prices is the fluctuation of demand. “
Fuel demand across the country jumped nearly 20% on Monday, according to GasBuddy, as frightened consumers filled gas stations on the third day of the Colonial shutdown. On May 7, Colonial learned who was the victim of a cyber security attack and took his systems offline “to contain the threat”. Part of a group of online hackers called DarkSide, the hackers took nearly 100 gigabytes of data from Colonial on Thursday and demanded a ransom of about $ 5 million, which Colonial ended up paying in bitcoin. The company ended up restarting its operations on Wednesday.
37 million. This is how many Americans are expected to hit the road on Memorial Day weekend, an increase of more than 60% over last year, when only 23 million Americans traveled, according to AAA.