Supply and demand force gas prices to rise

Published: May. 11, 2021 at 6:29 PM CDT|Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 6:30 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Fueling your car with gas is a familiar task for most people with a driver’s license.

Over the past couple of weeks, drivers have noticed the numbers on the gas pump slowly continue to rise, especially after last year where South Dakotans saw gas prices go as low as $1.63 a gallon. This was in most part due to the pandemic and fewer people out driving around.

“As the pandemic releases us from its clutches, if you will, more people are out driving. There’s more demand for gasoline, so that has driven up the price nationwide and locally,” said South Dakota’s AAA Public Affairs Manager, Shawn Steward.

As of Tuesday, the average price for a gallon of gas in South Dakota sits at $2.88. This is $1.25 more than this point last year, but still 10 cents less than many other places around the country.

“That makes it a little bit more painful when we go to the pumps now just because we got so used to the price being so low when there was very little demand across the county, but now we’re seeing the economic basics of supply and demand. More people driving that’s going to create more demand for gasoline and drive up the price,” explained Steward.

Steward said there are reports in the southeast and mid-Atlantic regions of the county about price increases due to the interruption of gas supplies caused by the cyberhacking of the Colonial Pipeline, but says this shouldn’t affect fuel prices here.

“We think that that is going to be limited to that region of the country for the most part. We don’t anticipate there being any impact on the gasoline situation in the rest of the country including South Dakota. We receive our gas supply from other refineries and other pipelines,” said Steward.

He predicts gas prices to only increase as summer vacation plans will increase supply and demand.

His advice to drivers is to focus on fuel efficiency by changing your air filter regularly, having properly inflated tires, sticking to the speed limit, and avoiding jackrabbit starts.

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