Why Gas Prices Are Rising When They Should Be Falling

Global issues are pushing oil prices higher—and that’s affecting gas prices at your local gas station.

October 26, 2021

Gas Prices Listed outside of Gas Station

By Jeff Lenard

Historically, gas prices climb in the spring for a variety of reasons that include the switchover to summer-blend fuel. Then they decline in the fall due to reasons like decreasing demand for gas after the warm summer months.

But that’s not happening this year. Gas prices have been rising, and naturally drivers are upset. What’s going on?

In short, as always, it’s about oil prices, which are the dominant factor in the price of a gallon of gasoline. On October 20, oil prices were around $85 per barrel. Exactly two months earlier, they were $65 per barrel. There are 42 gallons in a barrel of oil, so every dollar increase in a barrel equates to about 2.4 cents per gallon.

Oil prices have gone up 48 cents per gallon in the past two months. During this time, gas prices have increased 15 cents—from $3.17 to $3.32 per gallon, according to weekly data from the U.S. government.

So, if gas prices track oil prices, which are up the equivalent of 48 cents per gallon, why are gas prices “only” up 15 cents? There are several extenuating circumstances.

Find out what these extenuating circumstances are in the latest Convenience Corner blog post “Why Gas Prices Are Rising When They Should Be Falling.

Jeff Lenard is the vice president, strategic industry initiatives, for NACS. He began driving the year that the national average for gas first topped $1 a gallon. We won’t say what year that was but “My Sharona” blared out of his Toyota Corona’s speakers.