PITTSBURGH — Gas prices usually drop considerably in the fall.
Instead, the cost of a gallon of gas is surging.
According to our partners at TribLIVE.com, the national average price is now $3.36 a gallon, the highest since 2014.
In the Pittsburgh area, the price has soared to $3.50 a gallon this week, up from $3.33 a month ago, and isn’t likely to come down anytime soon, according to Patrick De Haan, senior petroleum analyst at Gasbuddy.com.
“I think Hurricane Ida did much more damage than anyone could have anticipated. It shut down Gulf of Mexico oil production for several weeks and as a result, we missed out on 45 million barrels of oil that would have otherwise been produced,” De Haan said.
The other problem is the energy crunch in Europe and Asia. “As a result, oil demand is likely to be about half a million barrels per day higher than it would have been otherwise,” he said.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) met two weeks ago and decided not to raise oil production beyond what it had already agreed to, he said.
Right now the Pittsburgh region may be one of the worst places in the country for filling up your tank, averaging over 14 cents higher per gallon. But why is that happening? De Haan said you can blame it, in part, on Pennsylvania’s gas tax, one of the highest in the country. But that’s not the only reason gas prices are higher in this area.
“(Pittsburgh) is in an energy desert,” he said. “You’re at the end of pipelines like the Laurel Pipeline that run east to west and the end of pipelines that run west to east through the Great Lakes, Chicago and up to Pittsburgh. Being at the end of the pipeline, you generally see higher prices because there are lower product flows and less competition.”
De Haan said don’t expect a price break at least for the rest of the year because of the global energy crunch.