MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The record-breaking cold down south is the reason you’re paying more at the pump up north.
GasBuddy is predicting that the average price per gallon nationwide will jump up to $0.20 this week. The culprit is extreme cold hitting refineries across Texas and the Gulf Coast.READ MORE: Minnesota Weather: After Severe Weather Chance Sunday Night, Monday's High Will Be Coolest Since May
According to Gas Buddy, drivers in Minnesota paid an average of $2.39 a gallon on Sunday. On Wednesday, they paid about $2.49, and several stations have charged closer to $2.60.
A trip to the gas pump in recent months has honestly been stress-free for some drivers. Troy O’Leary filled up gas tanks at the Kwik Trip off Highway 61.
“It was like $1.98 was the best I had. Like I can’t remember how long ago that was, but yeah, that was nice,” O’Leary said.
From about mid-October to mid-December, the average price per gallon was below $2 in Minnesota. That’s clearly changed in recent weeks, and especially over the past few days, with some stations in the metro hitting $2.59.
WCCO spoke with Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.READ MORE: George Floyd Square, Uptown Intersection Reopen To Traffic
“So far today, that would represent a $0.19 increase to the average price across the Twin Cities,” De Haan said.
He said the spike in price is directly related to the steep drop in temperatures down south, where 20% of our nation’s refineries are shut down in Texas and around the Gulf Coast.
“Those refineries are not built to the same standard that refineries up in our neck of the woods are built, where they’re insulated from these ultra-low temperatures,” De Haan said.
Any price increase, especially $0.20 cents in a day, can be tough on our wallets. But experts say when you compare our current price to previous years, we’re not doing so bad.
“Inflation adjusted, we are still historically paying in the bottom 25% of where prices have been,” De Haan said.
On top of that, demand for gas remains low since it’s winter, and people continue to work from home. But De Haan said this will change as COVID-19 vaccinations increase and the economy recovers.MORE NEWS: St. Paul's Sanneh Foundation Damaged In Overnight Fire
He also expects gas prices to settle around $2.59 a gallon in the metro in the coming days.