It’s no secret that gasoline prices in the Coastal Bend, and across the country, have spiked in recent weeks.
Gas prices in Corpus Christi have increased by 16 cents a gallon since Feb. 13, according to GasBuddy. Since the beginning of the month, GasBuddy reports prices have soared by 25 cents a gallon.
“I’m not buying a full tank when the prices are this high,” Corpus Christi resident Piper Carlson said. “I’m going to do half a tank and wait and see if they ever come down.”
The questions on Carlson’s and many Coastal Bend residents’ minds are: Why are we seeing this steep increase and will prices drop anytime soon?
The short answer is there isn’t any one reason.
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said the spike is heavily influenced by conflicts overseas.
“It has a lot to do with the situation in Russia,” De Haan said. “Russia is the second largest oil producer in the world and is responsible for about 10% of the global supply.”
While it’s impossible to predict what will occur in Eastern Europe, De Haan said oil companies are hiking rates in preparation for a possible surge in oil prices at the barrel.
“The concern is that if Russia does invade Ukraine, the U.S. could respond with sanctions,” De Haan said. “Russia could essentially curb exports to inflict harm on the U.S. and the global economy.”
Jim Lee, a regents professor of economics at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, said another reason gas prices are increasing is the lifting of mandates caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We as a society think life will be back to normal before the summer, so that’s also another factor on the demand side,” Lee said. “Summertime is usually the peak driving season and you’re going to see prices jump.”
Will it go down?
While the increase in gas prices happened quickly, it may be a while before residents notice a significant decrease.
Both De Haan and Lee predict the gas prices will increase by summer.
“The transition to summer gasoline is very much a squeeze and so the seasonal factors usually cause prices to go up 25 to 75 cents a gallon between the start of March and Memorial Day weekend,” De Haan said.
Although he expects prices to increase, Lee predicts the Coastal Bend won’t see much of a change this year.
“It will not go over $4,” Lee said. “My prediction by the end of the year will be $3.50. Get ready for it to go up because we have inflation, but everything will come down over time.”
Even with trends pointing toward a continued increase, Lee said he does foresee a scenario where gas prices could decrease.
“Funny thing about gas prices is they jump very fast,” Lee said. “So if nothing happens overseas in the next couple of weeks, I could see gas prices going down slowly.”
For updated information on Corpus Christi gas prices, visit https://www.gasbuddy.com/gasprices/texas/corpus-christi.
Christopher Howley covers entertainment and community news in South Texas. Support more coverage like this at Caller.com/subscribe.