Last week’s arctic blast blamed for gas price increase
|LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – While most states saw gas prices trend lower to start off the first week in February, the average gas price of $2.10 for Kentucky is about 2 cents higher than a week ago following a price jump during the stretch of frigid weather, according to AAA.
“Three-fourths of the country faced below-freezing temperatures last week. The forecast may have prompted many motorists to fill up early and often, ahead of the severe cold and snow, which in turn drove demand upward,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, public and government affairs manager, AAA Blue Grass. “Now that the wave of severe cold, ice and snow has passed, demand is likely to fall more in line with what we typically see in February.”
With the majority of state gas price averages decreasing, the national gas price average held flat at $2.26 even though the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest demand rate reflected summer-like numbers.
For the week ending Jan 25, the EIA reported U.S. gasoline demand at 9.6 million barrels per day. The last time the rate was this high was during the 2018 Labor Day weekend. The EIA rate is an estimate and considered preliminary until the agency releases final figures for the month.
If the estimate is not revised, last week’s extreme cold weather is likely behind the spike in demand. “This preparedness—filling of gas tanks before severe weather–is similar to what we see prior to hurricanes,” explained Weaver Hawkins.
Today’s national gas price average is a penny more expensive than a month ago, but 34 cents less expensive than a year ago. Kentucky’s current average of $2.10 is more than 40 cents less than a year ago.
The severe cold and associated jump in demand had more influence on gas prices in some areas of Kentucky than others. Lexington average gas price is back at 2.07, just a penny more than a week ago, following an upward climb for several days and a five cent drop overnight. The average gas price in Lexington was $2.47 a year ago.
Currently, average gas prices are trending lower, week over week, in several metro areas of Kentucky, including Bowling Green, Covington, Hopkinsville, and Huntington-Ashland, while prices remain higher in Elizabethtown-Fort Knox area, Henderson, Louisville, and Owensboro.