For many, Memorial Day Weekend means road trips. But this holiday weekend, filling up to hit the road means paying more at the pump.
“When you compare to the same time last year, we’re talking about more than 35% of an increase,” said Texas A&M Corpus Christi Economics Professor Dr. Jim Lee. “That’s very substantial.”
Last year at this time, regular unleaded gasoline cost about $2.00 a gallon in Corpus Christi. This year, it’s $2.70.
Dr. Lee says drivers should get used to the higher prices.
“This is not going to be better for the rest of the year,” said Lee. “That’s the reason why we are kind of concerned about gas prices right now.”
The national average for a gallon of gas is about $2.97, while the highest state average is California, whose drivers are paying $3.72 this holiday weekend, more than a dollar more than in the Coastal Bend.
According to Doctor Lee, gas prices are rising for a number of reasons.
“Everybody wants to fill up their gas tanks, so demand goes up,” said Lee. “At the same time we foresee some disruptions in gas supply because some of the oil fields and refineries will shut down, and that’s what we saw last year during Hurricane Harvey.”
Experts predicted a busy hurricane season, which could lead to another sharp jump in gas prices if storms disrupt oil production in the Gulf of Mexico.
“I expect at least a 10-20 cents per gallon, like we saw last time,” said Lee.
Dr. Lee believes affects to prices from re-imposed sanctions on Iran as well as political instability in Venezuela won’t be long-term.
“We’re going to produce more in South Texas to offset the shortages in global oil production,” said Lee.
“That won’t be a big concern compared to the summer driving season and the threat of the hurricanes.”