AAA says a year ago a gallon of regular cost an average of $2.70 in Texas. Today, it’s more than $4.
Drivers are paying more at the pump—a lot more—as the cost of gasoline moves steadily higher.
In the past two weeks, the national average for a gallon of gasoline has risen 20 cents to $4.32, a penny less than the record high set on March 11. The increase is primarily due to the high cost of crude oil, which was hovering near $100 a barrel last week and is now closing in on $110.
“It’s really jumped in just the last month, and we kind of saw it dip a little bit, but now as we get closer to summer driving season with the increase in demand, we’re seeing that go back up,” said AAA Texas spokesperson Daniel Armbruster.
Still, Texans are paying less for gas than residents of most other states. Texas has the eighth lowest gas price per gallon average in the country.
Why are gas prices surging again?
Armbruster said the volatile price of crude oil, at more than $100 a barrel, is the main reason we’re having to pay more at the pump. The price of oil was $104.58 per barrel at the time of this report, compared with about $65 a year ago. Half the cost of a gallon of gasoline is based on crude prices, Armbruster said. “When you factor in the volatility in the market, with demand increasing due to travel and leisure, and of course the supply chain issues related to the COVID pandemic, all of that is really pushing the price back up,” Armbruster said.
What’s mostly driving crude oil prices is Russia’s war in Ukraine, which is putting pressure on oil supplies across the globe, Armbruster says. On May 7, the European Union announced a proposal to impose a gradual embargo on Russian oil. That’s already having an impact on global crude markets. “Even though it’s Europe making those decisions, crude oil is traded globally. And so that can still have an impact on the United States and us here in Texas,” Armbruster said.
AAA Tips to save money on fuel
Studies have shown personal driving habits are the single biggest factor that affects vehicle fuel consumption, according to AAA.
Adopting new and improved behaviors on the road can contribute to significant savings at the gas pump. Here are some ways AAA says drivers can improve their fuel efficiency:
- Slow down and drive the speed limit. Higher speeds result in more aerodynamic drag.
- Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard accelerations. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.
- Use cruise control on the highway to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on slippery roads because a loss of vehicle control could result.
- Minimize your use of air conditioning.
- Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in colder temperatures. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.
- Download the AAA App to find the cheapest gas prices near you.
- Maintain your car according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Regular service will ensure optimum fuel economy.
- Make sure your tires are properly maintained and inflated to the correct level.
- When driving in town, adjust your speed to “time” the traffic lights. This reduces repeated braking and acceleration that consume additional fuel.
- When approaching a red light or stop sign, take your foot off the gas early and allow your car to coast down to a slower speed until it is time to brake.