No one likes paying more for gas, that seems fair to say. When gas gets more expensive, life gets more expensive.
Thursday in Cumberland, gas cost on average $2.87. A week ago, the average price was $2.80. This time last year, the average was $1.84.
The national average price of gas shows an even wider range, from $1.77 last year at this time to $2.88.
Cars are a vital part of life and culture in this country — have been since Henry Ford introduced mass production, leading the automotive to become almost ubiquitous in American homes.
They let us traverse the range between “ev’ry mountainside” through “thy woods and templed hills” and into cities on mass transit highways.
The suburbanization of our country and the car go hand-in-hand, becoming vital in the commute from home to work, for groceries and deliveries.
So when the price of gas goes up, as it has over the past year and specifically in the most recent months, it can feel like an assault on our very being.
So it may seem odd then to say, the rise of gas prices might not be such a bad thing. No, we aren’t advocating for higher gas prices.
However, this recent increase over the last few months may point to things looking up. After months spent mired in pandemic lockdown slumber, the world — vaccinated countries especially — are beginning to awake.
One reason for the increased price at the pump is that COVID restrictions are loosening, causing a global increase in demand for crude oil at a rate beyond expectation. Another reason for the jump in price is the changing of the seasons. Simple economics, we travel more in the summer; thus demand goes up, while supply has yet to catch up.
Plus, U.S. refineries switch off in spring for maintenance and to switch from their winter blends to their summer blends, which further restricts supply and pops cost.
A National Public Radio segment one of our reporters heard put it best.
“Really, the blame of this is economic improvement — Americans getting out, having places to go,” said Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, in the interview.
NPR’s Camila Domonoske put it as such and said, you “need crude oil, of course, to make gasoline. The OPEC oil cartel is keeping a lid on output, and U.S. oil companies have voluntarily kept their production low because when oil is more scarce, it’s more profitable.”
There are also concerns that a lack of qualified truckers could result in gas supply shortages over the summer.
Global politics are playing a part as well. Those with a keen eye will call November an inflection point. With President Biden bringing in a more environmentally conscious administration, the global market responded, squeezing the supply to drive up the price for profit.
While painful at the pump, there is some solace to be found in knowing it tells us we’re finally on the move again.