One Thing’s Back to Normal; Alas, It's Pain at the Pump

Off the Charts: The Visual Says It All

Man wearing surgical gloves and mask refueling car at gas station

Steve Smith/The Balance

Gas prices that have been gaining steam for months rose sharply after refinery shutdowns caused by winter storms last week squeezed supply. After prices tumbled early in the pandemic, increased demand and rising crude oil prices more than erased those declines, even before the storms.

The average price per gallon is now $2.66, the highest since October 2019, according to AAA. An April low of $1.77 is a distant memory, along with those initial COVID-19 lockdowns.

“When close to 40% of U.S. crude production is offline because refineries are closed, there is going to be pain at the pump until operations resume,” Jeanette Casselano McGee, a spokesperson for AAA, said in a press release Monday. “The good news is the nearly two dozen impacted refiners are expected to restart operations this week, if they haven’t already. That means regular gasoline deliveries will resume and impacted stations will be re-fueled.”

Unfortunately, even when the large spikes subside, today’s expensive prices are likely to stick around, AAA said.