A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Arctic temps drive spike at the pump; Kentucky spared the worst as most see double-digit rise


Motorists are filling-up to some of the most expensive gas prices seen in over a year. With the forced shutdown of Gulf Coast and some Midwest refineries due to last week’s winter weather, gasoline stocks have tightened and gas prices have skyrocketed.

On the week, 66% of state averages spiked by double digits (10–22 cents), driving the national average up by 13 cents to $2.63. That is the most expensive national average since October 2019. Kentucky did not see a double-digit increase, but did rise by 8 cents on the week.

“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,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, public and government affairs manager, AAA Blue Grass. “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.”

Last week, refinery outages were reported in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kansas.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports gasoline stocks sit at 257 million barrels. Just 2 million barrels short of year-ago, stock levels are relatively healthy. That will allow ample supply to get to impacted areas. EIA’s latest demand measurement of 8.4 million b/d is the highest reported since early November of last year. However, AAA expects that number to be lower in this Wednesday’s report as last week’s winter storm took motorists off the road.

Gas prices are likely to be volatile until crude production is back to normal levels. Motorists can expect these more expensive prices to stick around, but large spikes are likely to subside.

The AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report is the most comprehensive U.S. gas price survey available from any source. More than 100,000 self-serve stations are surveyed daily in compiling the nonptofit’s report, compared to other price-reporting sources that rely on customer input or surveys from only a limited number of stations.

Weaver Hawkins reminds that motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the not-for-profit’s free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Motorists can also get an estimate of gas costs when planning a trip.

The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA’s reported gas prices reflect what is actually paid at the pump and are not dependent on customers reliably reporting prices or based on only a small sampling of pumps.

Today’s average of $2.45 in Kentucky is 8 cents higher than last week and 18 cents more than a month ago. Today’s gas price in Kentucky is now 17 cents higher than the Commonwealth’s average of $2.28 seen a year ago. That’s the story this week across many parts of the Bluegrass, though price increases are more moderate in many areas than in previous weeks.

In Lexington, the average price is still rising, up another 10 cents from last week to land at $2.42. That’s 11 cents higher than a month ago

Surrounding communities have also seen gas prices rise in the past week, some by nearly 20 cents. In Nicholasville, the average price is up 7 cents, now at $2.37. Georgetown is up 6 cents, now averaging $2.45. Versailles is up just 3 cents to land at $2.43, while Winchester is up 4 cents to land at $2.44. Richmond is up 8 cents, landing at $2.48.

Elizabethtown is the community with the lowest price in Kentucky at $2.33. Louisville is again the high spot in the Commonwealth, rising another 12 cents since last week to land at $2.61.

Quick Stats

• The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases: Ohio (+22 cents), Arizona (+21 cents), Iowa (+19 cents), Minnesota (+18 cents), Georgia (+18 cents), Michigan (+17 cents), Wisconsin (+16 cents), Nebraska (+16 cents), Indiana (+16 cents) and Maryland (+15 cents).

• The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($2.27), Louisiana ($2.31), Texas ($2.32), Arkansas ($2.35), Alabama ($2.35), Oklahoma ($2.36), Utah ($2.38), Missouri ($2.38), Tennessee ($2.40) and South Carolina ($2.42).

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by $1.28 to settle at $59.24. Crude prices took a step back last week amid market concern that crude demand may not rebound as expected, but prices did push higher earlier in the week due to supply and delivery impacts from the winter storm. Crude prices were also bolstered by EIA’s latest weekly report revealing that total domestic crude inventories dropped by 7.3 million bbl, bringing the supply level to 461.8 million bbl. For this week, crude prices will likely rise if EIA’s next weekly report shows another decrease in total stocks, but price gains could be limited again if demand concerns persist.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

From AAA Blue Grass


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