PITTSBURGH (KDKA-TV) – Have you filled your gas tank lately? There is just no relief at the pump these days and it doesn’t look like there will be any time soon.
“Americans have cabin fever and we want to get out,” says Patrick De Haan who is the head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy.com. The result is soaring demand and skyrocketing prices at the pump.
“The new cheap is the old expensive,” he says. “We’ve been kind of at the same price for last several weeks, kind of stuck on the perch if you will. There’s no ledge, prices aren’t going to sink, and a lot of the reason for that is that so many Americans are hitting the road for the summer.”
De Haan admits the prognosis is not encouraging.
“We may eventually go up again in the weeks ahead,” he adds. “Oil prices are dancing around about $74 a barrel, that’s the highest level since 2018. Gas price is well over $3 and we may not go back under $3 until fall and that’s still an if as well.”
“If,” he says, because of the unknown. “Will offices start reopening this fall that could spur demand up even further, and prevent prices from going down as they tend to do in the autumn?”
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There is a lot of talks right now about gas shortages but De Haan says that’s overblown. “Just to state it clearly there’s no supply issue anywhere, refineries are churning out 10.3 million barrels of gasoline every day,” De Haan says.
So why are some scattered gas stations reporting they are running out?
“It’s not actually that there is no gasoline there’s plenty of it,” he explains. “It’s just not having enough truck drivers to replenish stations as often as they need it due to the surge in demand.”
Many tanker drivers who were laid off or lost their jobs during the drop in demand during the pandemic have simply not returned. So the remaining truckers are doing the best they can. “So even if motorist sees a station without fuel, it may only be six hours, maybe less than that,” De Haan says. “There could be a fuel truck on its way. But these are popping up, it’s random. It may affect random areas.”
So random there is no consistency to where a station might run out and therefore De Haan said there is no reason to top off or panic buy.
“If anything, it’s not a shortage, it’s a delivery delay, the gas is there, It’s just getting it to the station in time.”