Gas prices have surged across the country after winter storms in the Gulf Coast region, and Grand Junction was not been spared from the price jump.
The average gas price in Grand Junction is $2.50, which is nine cents more than it was a week ago and 19 cents more than a month ago, according to AAA.
Colorado as a whole has seen about a seven-cent increase, while the national average went up by 13 cents to $2.63.
The increase comes as refineries in Texas and other gulf states closed because of the rare winter storm that gripped the region.
However, most refineries are expected to be back online sometime this week, said Skyler McKinley, regional director of public affairs for AAA.
“When you get right down to it, last week was the equivalent of a hurricane event,” McKinley said.
“With close to 40% of U.S. crude production offline because refineries are closed, there is going to be pain at the pump until operations resume. Luckily, most of the nearly two dozen impacted refiners should be able to restart operations this week, if they haven’t already.”
Perr LLC, a local trucking company, has been affected by the price increase, Perr manager Rick Catlin said. He said the prices they charge do not change much based on gas prices.
“It does have an effect,” Catlin said. “Most of our rates are locked in for a year, so it does affect us quite a bit.”
Perr, which is focused on transporting chemicals, does benefit when prices fall below expectations, but Catlin said that is more rare than prices jumping higher. On average, he said they spend about $25,000 a month on fuel.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has reported that gasoline stocks sit at 257 million barrels, 2 million barrels short of a year ago, which will allow supply to flow to impacted areas, according to AAA.
Prices will continue to be unpredictable until crude product returns to normal levels.
Drivers will likely continue to see higher gas prices as travel increases from the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to AAA.
The EIA has measured the highest demand for gasoline recorded since early November. However, the winter storms took some drivers off the road, which should result in a dip in demand.
For Grand Junction drivers, these prices are also a long-term increase. Gas a year ago was averaging $2.33 in the city.