HUTCHINSON, Kan. — According to Shawn Steward with AAA Kansas, the pain for drivers at the pump is increasing.
"We've seen quite a spike in gas prices here, not only in Kansas, but basically the entire Central Plains and Upper Midwest," Steward said. "There's been some talk through the industry that refineries in the region have been down for regular maintenance or some repairs."
Area counties are up considerably from last week. Prices were checked on Saturday, Sept. 16.
The statewide average is $3.74 and the fundamentals suggest that prices may stay up for the short term.
"In addition to the refinery issue, we've also seen crude oil prices rising back to around $90 per barrel amidst trader's concerns that crude supplies will remain tight through the rest of the year," Steward said. "Specifically, Saudi Arabia and Russia, some of the top OPEC+ producers have played a role in tightening supplies by continuing their output cuts."
It's not really that more people are driving, in fact, it's the opposite lately.
"We're in a period here where we typically see lower demand," Steward said. "We are seeing that, in terms of gasoline demand in the U.S. currently being down, but all these other factors with tightening supply in the global market and then these issues with refinery outages, hopefully those will be temporary, but all of those factors are driving prices up at the pumps."
A year ago, the statewide average was $3.41 a gallon.