Several factors likely to cause higher gas prices

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) —  The winter weather and power outages in Texas will impact Hoosiers in the coming days, weeks and months.

Gas prices are increasing across the country and could reach $3 per gallon. That’s a price we haven’t seen since 2014 and it’s thanks to a strange brew of vaccines, economic optimism and a wintry mix in the Deep South.

Texas is the country’s largest crude oil and natural gas producer. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the state is home to 30 refineries. Snow and cold temperatures forced some of the largest refineries to shut down Monday and Tuesday, affecting up to 3-million barrels of oil each day and that’s after the oil industry has already scaled back production because of the pandemic.

You’ve probably noticed the price at the pump creeping up recently. According to GasBuddy, the national average sits just above $2.50 per gallon. That’s the highest level since last January.

Typically, prices increase 25 to 65 cents a gallon from late winter to Memorial Day. If you do the math, that has us knocking on that $3 per gallon door and maybe walking right through it.

This is a big reverse from a year ago, when the price at the pump plunged as people stayed home at the start of the pandemic. And while the winter weather is keeping people across the U.S. home this week and that will keep demand down a bit, the energy crisis triggered by the polar blast has shown no signs of easing up. Gulf refineries could take weeks to get back online even after power is restored and pipes unfreeze.

The trickle-down effect from this weather won’t only make your commute more expensive, but natural gas futures also jumped this week by nearly 8%, which could translate to higher utility bills as well.