By Nathan Ham
If you have noticed the steady climb of gas prices in Boone and other areas in North Carolina, you’re certainly not alone. Prices were below $2 per gallon as recent as December and had remained around the $2 mark until roughly a month ago when prices started to rise.
As of Monday afternoon, the cheapest price of a gallon of regular gas in Boone is $2.59, three cents above the state average of $2.56, according to the popular travel app GasBuddy.
The Exxon at the intersection of Highway 105 and Blowing Rock Road, the Speedway on Blowing Rock Road, the Marathon on E. King Street and the Circle K on Blowing Rock Road are all reporting prices of $2.59 per gallon.
In Banner Elk, the Circle K on Shawneehaw Avenue and the Carolina Petro on Tynecastle Highway are both reporting prices of $2.59 per gallon. Typically, gas prices in Banner Elk are a little more than in Boone, but that is not the case right now.
In Ashe County, prices range from 15 to 20 cents cheaper per gallon than Boone and Banner Elk. Backyard Convenience on S. Jefferson Avenue is reporting a price of $2.37 per gallon. Murphy USA at Walmart, Quality Plus on S. Jefferson Avenue, Ingles gas station, the Speedway on E. 2nd Street, BP on Beaver Creek School Road and Valero on Beaver Creek School Road are all reporting a price of $2.43 per gallon.
The main culprit for the rise in gas prices according to numerous economic experts is the increased demand in fuel as more and more people have started to travel more. While the demand has increased, production of oil has been cut over the past year from OPEC countries. The price of oil per barrel reached a 13-month high in February.
Numerous refineries also had to shut down in Texas after dealing with a brutal cold stretch and winter storm that caused havoc with the electrical grid across the state.
“Gas prices continued to surge last week following cold-weather-related shutdowns in Texas, but going forward, the impact from the cold has likely run its course. However, several other factors will rise in their influence on gas prices again, including the fact that gasoline demand continues up steam,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “According to Pay with GasBuddy data, last week’s total gasoline demand soared to the highest level since the pandemic began as COVD-19 cases continue to drop and Americans are filling up more. On the supply side, the number of oil rigs active in the U.S. stands nearly 50% lower than a year ago, which is a large factor driving prices up. To put it simply, demand is recovering much much faster than oil production levels, which is why oil prices have soared. This week, OPEC will be meeting to hopefully increase oil production to temper the rise in prices, but will they increase oil production enough to match the growing appetite of a global economy that’s seen oil demand jump? We’ll have to wait and see.”
The national average price of gasoline has risen for the eighth straight week, rising 7.5 cents per gallon over the last week to $2.72 today according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 11 million individual price reports covering over 150,000 gas stations across the country. The national average has increased 17.9 cents per gallon in the last two weeks.
The price of crude oil has seen continued momentum, with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil up 56 cents per barrel in early trade Monday, up from $60.51 last week Monday. Brent crude oil was up 71 cents to $65.13 per barrel in early Monday trade, also a premium to last Monday’s $63.99 level.
According to new gasoline demand figures being released by GasBuddy, U.S. gasoline demand surged for the week ending February 27, as cold weather departed and Americans saw a return to warmer conditions. Gasoline demand surged, with the nation consuming the most gasoline of any week since the pandemic began nearly a year ago.