The American Automobile Association (AAA) announced Monday that only three months into 2019, the nation’s average gas price has spiked by almost 45 cents. Ohio prices increased as well, but by slightly less than the national average. While Ohioans may be relieved, experts are predicting that these price increases are expected to continue indefinitely.
According to AAA, the current average gas price is $2.69 for regular unleaded gas. Though this is far from the historical high of $4.16 in May of 2011, it’s still more expensive than gas has been in the previous three years. At the state level:
The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases are: Florida (+13 cents), California (+12 cents), Indiana (+11 cents), Georgia (+11 cents), Idaho (+9 cents), Kentucky (+9 cents), Washington (+9 cents), Oregon (+8 cents), Nevada (+8 cents) and Ohio (+8 cents).
“Three months ago motorists could find gas for less than $2.50 at 78 percent of gas stations. Today, you can only find gas for that price at one-third of stations, which is likely giving sticker shock to motorists across the country,” AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano said. “Gasoline stocks have been steadily decreasing since early February causing spikes at the pump that are likely to continue for the coming weeks.”
Experts warned that the issues causing these spikes aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The rise in oil prices is attributed to several compounding factors that make the future of oil uncertain. In early December 2018, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Companies (OPEC) and their allies made the decision to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day. This was done despite the vehement protests of President Donald Trump and other western powers. The recent U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran have further tightened the supply of oil.
The price of oil spiked to $70 dollars per barrel on Tuesday.
As Ohioans face the challenge of increasing long-term oil prices, the prospect of a gas-tax hike becomes all the less popular. As previously reported:
House Bill 62 (HB 62), the 2020-21 Ohio Transportation Budget, the first major bill proposed of newly-elected Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine’s tenure, called for an 18 cent gas tax increase. It would go into effect immediately and carry no tax offsets.
The Ohio House of Representative’s proposed a 10.7 cent tax increase, phased in over three years while the Senate called for a six-cent tax increase. After extensive discussions, DeWine and the House agreed to an 11 cent tax increase.
While no compromise could be reached with the Senate before the March 31 deadline, the House and Senate agreed to a 10.5 cent increase late Tuesday night.
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Andrew Shirley is a reporter at Battleground State News and The Ohio Star. Send tips to [email protected].