Pump prices rise, energy industry gets a boost

Published 9:56 am Tuesday, January 30, 2018

By Ken Stickney


Retail pump prices for a gallon of regular gasoline rose 3.3 cents in Texas last week, as drivers in this state shared in some national consumer pain.

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Gas prices averaged $2.34 a gallon Sunday, according to consumer website GasBuddy, which surveys 13,114 Texas gas outlets daily.

The average price of gas in Beaumont-Port Arthur was $2.39 a gallon Monday morning.

Nationally, gas prices rose 3 cents a gallon last week to an average $2.57 a gallon.

GasBuddy petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan said prices are rising as oil stockpiles decline and the price of oil stays higher than expected. Oil’s price per barrel was $65.41 Sunday; oil hit a low of about $26 a barrel in early 2016 and has regained strength gradually in the last two years.

“With oil maintaining strength, gasoline prices have continued to climb in many places, rising to their highest level since Hurricane Harvey dealt a blow to Texas and a significant portion of U.S. refining capacity,” DeHaan said in an issued statement Monday.

Usually, consumers get a price benefit as refineries shift from producing winter grade to summer grade gas, which generally occurs in February and March. This year, DeHaan said, prices might only climb.

“It’s looking more and more like that,” DeHaan said in a telephone interview with the Port Arthur News.

But consumers’ pain is producers’ and refiners’ gain, DeHaan said. For refiners along the Gulf of Mexico, like those in Port Arthur, the increase in prices helps the bottom line and bolsters industry employment, which is good news for the local economy.

DeHaan said U.S. refiners in general, Gulf Coast refiners in particular, are in good position. They have access to affordable oil, with deep discounts on Canadian oil, and can ship to buyers in Mexico and South America. For 10 straight weeks, he said, reserves have declined.

Gas prices in Texas are 25.5 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 9.3 cents per gallon higher than a month ago.

The national average has increased 8.8 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 30.7 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.
GasBuddy says on Jan. 29 over the last five years, gasoline prices in Texas have ranged widely over the last five years: $2.08 in 2017, $1.59 in 2016, $1.84 in 2015, $3.07 in 2014 and $3.18 in 2013.
Here are current gasoline prices around Texas and their current gas price climate:

  • Midland Odessa: $2.45, up .4 cents per gallon from last week
  • San Antonio: $2.22, up .9 cents per gallon.
  • Austin: $2.29, up 2.1 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.26/g.