Filling up the gas tank on your car has gotten noticeably more expensive the past couple of weeks. That’s because Lamar County, along with the rest of the country, has recently seen a sizeable spike in costs largely due to mounting tensions and violence in the Middle East.
Lamar County’s average price per gallon is in the neighborhood of $2.39, according to analytics from GasBuddy.com. That’s an increase of about 11 cents from the week before. Prices are up roughly 5 cents from this point last month.
Lamar County’s average is comparable to the statewide average of about $2.38 per gallon. The national average of $2.66 is up roughly 13 cents from the prior week, according to GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis Patrick DeHaan.
The recent surge in gas prices is due in large part to attacks, believed to have been carried out by Iran, on two Saudi Aramco oil production facilities. According to DeHaan, the impact of those attacks has been huge.
“The impact from the attack on Saudi Arabia has been clear,” DeHaan said. “The national average saw its third largest single day price increase in the last decade as a result… Oil prices also saw their largest single day gain since the Gulf war. So yes, this was fairly unprecedented.”
Some states saw steep spikes, such as Michigan, where the average cost per gallon jumped 25 cents in a single week.
If the mounting tensions lead to war, DeHaan said, it will be hard to predict the magnitude of the impact on gas prices.
“If there’s more between Iran and Saudi Arabia, it’ll depend if that action kinks the flow of oil out of the region,” he said. “It could have major repercussions.”
Additionally, DeHaan said several seasonal factors also tend to push prices up at this time of year. These include demand falling at the end of summer, the switch to winter gasoline, refinery maintenance season and more.
Despite the current factors, prices are still far lower than they were at this point last year. GasBuddy’s analytics report the state average is 22 cents cheaper than it was at this point last year. According to DeHaan, this is due to the fact that American oil production continues to rise, coupled with concerns about trade with China.
“That likely has slowed the economy and thus oil demand, dragging prices down,” he said.