Gas prices on the rise as demand increases amid more travel

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As you fill up to hit the road this Fourth of July weekend, you’ll notice you’re paying more.

Experts say it comes down to supply and demand.

“Gasoline demand continues to soar. So far this week, it’s up over 7% from the same time over Memorial Day weekend,” GasBuddy.com petroleum analyst Patrick De Haan told News 8 in a Friday Zoom call. “That’s part and parcel why gas prices continue to go up. Americans continue to get outside as America has reopened, and that’s driving prices up.”

At the same time, De Haan explained, oil companies that last year slashed production amid plummeting demand linked to the pandemic haven’t increased their output again as America gets back on the road.

“We are now facing some of the prices we have seen since 2014,” De Haan said.

So when will we see relief? Hard to say, according to De Haan. It’s going to depend on when those oil companies decide to start cranking out more barrels.

“Supply has so far been going at a snail’s pace,” De Haan said. “Of course, (oil companies) have manpower and labor challenges just like the rest of the economy does, but there’s nothing preventing oil companies from raising production back to pre-COVID levels, but we’re still about 2 million barrels, or 17%, below pre-COVID oil production.”

He advised Fourth of July weekend travelers to check gas prices before they hit the road to see if they can avoid filling up in more expensive areas.

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