Austin gasoline costs climbing, however not due to Colonial Pipeline hack

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After the Colonial Pipeline is shut down, the gas pipelines will be longer

The disruption of the more than 5,500 mile long colonial pipeline threatens to leave southeast gas stations with little to no gasoline.

Employee Video, USA TODAY

The ongoing economic recovery from the COVID pandemic is driving gas prices higher in Austin and across the country.

The increase is due to increasing demand coupled with a slow improvement in supply and is unrelated to the recent cyberattacks on the Colonial Pipeline, said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

Gas prices in the Austin area rose 7 cents a gallon over the past week and now averages $ 2.56 a gallon for regular unleaded gas, according to industry website GasBuddy, which tracks fuel prices nationwide.

According to GasBuddy, the cheapest station in Austin is currently priced at $ 1.79 per gallon while the most expensive is $ 2.99 per gallon, a difference of $ 1.20 per gallon.

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The national average price for gasoline hit the $ 3 per gallon mark on Wednesday – a price that has not been seen since October 2014, according to GasBuddy. The national average is up 15 cents a gallon from the previous month and is $ 1.17 higher than a year ago.

The average would have reached $ 3 even if the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies about 45% of consumption on the east coast, hadn’t been decommissioned by hackers on Friday, according to some industry experts.

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More than 1,000 gas stations in the southeast have reported running out of fuel, largely because analysts say motorists are making unjustified panic buying.

Much of the pipeline resumed operations manually late Monday, and Colonial expects to resume most of its operations by the end of the week, US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said.

Motorists may still feel a crisis because it takes a few days for operations to start up, but she said there was no reason to hoard gasoline.

“We know we have gas. We just have to put it in the right places, ”she said.

De Haan said that while $ 3 a gallon of gasoline isn’t a milestone to celebrate, it is a sign that things are slowly returning to normal. In this case, rising gas prices are a sign that Americans are returning to the world – attending baseball games, going to concerts, going on a road trip – basically staying anywhere except at home. “

Prices typically start rising around this time of year each year, and the increased demand for gasoline is expected to continue for the coming months, he said.

“There could also be a blockbuster demand for fuel this summer as Americans find it very difficult to travel internationally. This results in many staying within US borders with a few weeks to possibly to record gasoline demand, “said De Haan.

The AAA Auto Club expects more than 37 million people to be at least 50 miles from home on Memorial Day weekend. This corresponds to an increase of 60% compared to the previous year. This was the lowest level since AAA began recording in 2000.

This report contains material from the Associated Press.