Gas prices remain steady

Published 7:02 pm Thursday, January 20, 2022

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Gas prices usually start to decline in the winter months as demand falls off. However, this year, prices are holding steady around the $3 mark.

“We’ve seen virtually no change in the gas price over the past month,” AAA Alabama spokesman Clay Ingram said. “This time of year, you typically see prices go down. But, we’re seeing a lot of global optimism that we’re getting close to the end of COVID. People don’t see an immediate end, but they see an end to it between now and summertime. Because of that, people are investing in crude oil and crude oil futures. That’s keeping the price of gas up. Right now a barrel of crude oil is about $80. It’s usually about $50 to $60 a barrel. Right now, the sate is averaging $2.99 per gallon of gas. It’s been close to that for a month. I’m a little surprised by that, because it’s a little unusual for gas to hit a plateau at this time of year.”

Ingram said the price at the pump in the coming months will all boil down to one thing – supply and demand. Ingram said people are expecting more demand this year than last year.

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“People are ready to travel or just go somewhere,” Ingram said. “People just want to get away from the everyday for a little while. Travel bookings are up as well. I think all of that will cause demand to be higher and that will cause prices to be higher. Earlier this year, OPEC [Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries] cut production to keep the prices high, and it worked. But, they’re starting to release more oil now to meet future demand.”

However, Ingram said he believed the demand would still exceed the supply of gas and prices would go up.

“It’s tough to predict how this will affect the prices,” Ingram said. “Odds are, the price is going to go up. How much higher? I’m not sure. I think the price change will be minimal between now and summer, but then we’ll see some increase. I don’t think it will reach $4 per gallon, but you never know for sure. Anything can happen.”