Gasoline prices continue to rise in Houston and nationwide thanks to strong demand from drivers and the increasing price of oil.
The Houston area saw the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded jump by just 1 cent in the past week up to $1.89, while the national average is now $2.14 per gallon, according to daily survey data from GasBuddy. But the benchmark for U.S. oil, which is used to produce fuel, has increased more over the same time frame and is now just under $44 a barrel.
Data from the US Energy Department show gasoline demand up 3.4 percent from last year and 7.4 percent from 2014, largely because of cheaper fuel costs. Still, the price of oil has risen by about $8 in the past three weeks, so more gasoline hikes are expected through June.
“But, remarkably, the most commonly seen (gasoline) price across the country today is $1.99,” said Will Speer, a Houston-based senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, in a prepared statement. “And that’s exactly what it was a week ago, a month ago, and even six months ago… $1.99.”
Texas is now just one of 13 states with a gasoline average below $2 a gallon.
“Low prices have ignited the early demand surge this year, and the surge is expected to continue into the summer, where demand hits its peak for the year,” Speer added.
Within the South Texas area, gasoline is as cheap as $1.67 a gallon at some fueling stations in Pearland to as much as $2.69 a gallon along Houston’s Interstate 10 corridor.