Gasoline costs in western Pennsylvania will rise 6 to 9 cents. Demand is more likely to rise even when the colonial pipeline reopens

Gasoline prices in western Pennsylvania have risen 6 to 9 cents over the past week, and drivers should expect prices to continue to rise as the nation recovers from pandemic stalemates and more people are on vacation this summer.

According to analysts, the increase is primarily due to the covid-induced recovery and seasonal fuel price hikes – rather than the logistical problems caused by the largest U.S. pipeline that was shut down for five days due to a cyberattack.

Average gas prices in the Pittsburgh area hit $ 3.13 per gallon Wednesday afternoon, down from $ 2.98 a month ago and $ 2.19 this time last year. This is based on data compiled by, a Boston-based technology company that tracks fuel prices nationwide.

“In this case, soaring gasoline prices are a sign that Americans are returning to the world – going to baseball games, going to concerts, going on a road trip – basically staying anywhere but home,” said Patrick De Haan, petroleum chief, GasBuddy Analysis . “There could also be a blockbuster demand for fuel this summer as Americans find it very difficult to travel internationally, resulting in many staying within US borders – which may give a few weeks to go to record gasoline demand. “

Earlier in the day, motorists in some southeastern states couldn’t find gasoline to buy – not because of a lack of U.S. supplies, but because of supply chain problems resulting from the Colonial Pipeline failure. The company was hit by hackers on Friday who blocked their computer systems and demanded a ransom to release them.

In some cases, there was chaos and fighting over who could fill his tank as the five-day shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline raised fears of a shortage. It resulted in nearly half of all gas stations in places like Virginia and Georgia being completely empty.

Colonial Pipeline is brought back online

Concerns about what could happen if the shutdown took much longer were allayed late Wednesday when Colonial Pipeline announced it had resumed operations after the cyber threats were resolved. They came from the financial networks that were hacked by a Russia-related cyber gang called DarkSide. The attack raised concerns about the cybersecurity vulnerability of the country’s critical infrastructure.

“After this restart, it will take a few days for the supply chain for product delivery to return to normal,” said a statement posted on Colonial’s website shortly after 5pm

“In some markets served by Colonial Pipeline, there may be temporary business interruptions during the start-up phase or they may continue. Colonial will and will continue to move as much gasoline, diesel and jet fuel as possible until markets normalize again. “

The Colonial Pipeline runs from the Gulf Coast to metropolitan New York, but the states in the southeast are more reliant on it. It provides about 45% of the fuel used on the east coast.

By Wednesday morning, 65% of North Carolina gas stations were out of fuel, according to GasBuddy. Outside Raleigh, two people were charged with assault after quarreling and spitting in the face at a marathon gas station Tuesday while fighting over their places in line, The Associated Press reported.

Other parts of the country, such as Pennsylvania, have more sources to develop. For example, a significant amount of fuel is being delivered to states in the northeast by massive tankers sailing the Atlantic coast.

The White House said the Department of Transportation will allow states served by the pipeline to use highways to carry overweight loads of gasoline and other fuels. But with a national trucker shortage, the industry hasn’t been able to put much more trucks on the road.

Officials: There was no shortage of fuel.

Despite the inability of drivers in some states to purchase gasoline in recent days, there has been no general supply shortage, according to government officials and energy analysts.

Experts had warned the public not to panic and hoard gas, and they warned that doing so would make the short-term problem worse by artificially increasing demand.

“There is enough gasoline in this country. We don’t have a petrol shortage. We have logistics and delivery problems, “said Lynda Lambert, spokeswoman for AAA East Central, shortly before the resumption of operations on the Colonial Pipeline to the Trib.

Over the weekend, prices in Pennsylvania hover near $ 3.11 per gallon – the eighth highest of 50 states, GasBuddy’s real-time price ticker shows. California ranks number 1 at $ 4.11 a gallon, and Louisiana has the cheapest gasoline at $ 2.67. West Virginia at $ 2.92 and Ohio at $ 2.89 are in the middle of the field.

Drivers may have noticed prices significantly higher than this time last year – around $ 1 – but that’s because of the unusually low prices during the nation’s confrontation with covid-19.

“Last year it was an unusual situation and we were all, to be honest, a little spoiled. Because the demand was lower, the prices were lower, ”said Lambert. “There are so many factors that contribute to this. Early summer is a time when the gas usually increases.

“It varies from year to year, but two factors play a role: we are approaching the driving season so the demand will increase and we are also using summer compound gas, which usually costs a little more.”

The national average gas price passed the $ 3 per gallon mark in what GasBuddy put it in terms of pop culture, “a milestone not seen since David Letterman hosted Late Night, introduced Pharrell’s hat to the world, and Kim and Kanye hitchhiked him. “

GasBuddy analysts expect prices to “settle to levels closer to 2018” and remain in the $ 2 to $ 3 per gallon range.

“Should major refining problems develop in the middle of the summer travel season,” said a GasBuddy analysis published on Wednesday, “gas prices could be heavily impacted, especially if the economy continues to recover solidly and fuel demand increases.” ”

The Associated Press helped.

Natasha Lindstrom is a contributor to the Tribune Review. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514,, or on Twitter.

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