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Alaska sees rising gas prices ahead of Memorial Day weekend

Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 4:09 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - With Memorial Day weekend right around the corner, Alaskans looking to get out on the road may face the highest gas prices the state has seen in two years.

Patrick De Haan, Head of Petroleum Analysis with Gas Buddy explained, “Memorial Day is one of the bigger travel holidays of the year. Combined with July 4 and Labor Day, Americans have very few holidays during the summer, so all three of them tend to be pretty busy.”

As COVID-19 cases decrease and more Americans take to the road, the cost of gas is rising, according to De Haan. “Gasoline demand is up, and that has pushed gas prices up consistently since the start of the year.”

Right now, gas costs an average of about $3.27 a gallon in Alaska.

However, according to De Haan, the 49th state has a wide spread, with gas prices ranging from under $3.00 to over $5.00, “and that’s simply because some of the remote areas have very high prices, and that is why. Not a whole lot of states can you say are as remote as areas of Alaska,” he said.

In Fairbanks, gas can be found for between $3.20 and $3.47 a gallon. Prices still haven’t reached 2019 levels, but neither has production in the U.S. “U.S. oil production peaked at about 13.3 million barrels per day before the pandemic. We are now, I believe, at about 11 million barrels of crude oil production a day,” De Haan said, adding that lower supply also contributes to rising gas prices. “Prices are hovering near some of the highest since 2019, specifically in Alaska.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, gas prices in Alaska went below $2.00 a gallon in 2020, and Memorial Day last year saw gas prices as low as $2.30 a gallon.

But the U.S. has seen a consistent rise in those prices since November of last year. De Haan explained, “The promise of those vaccinations reopening the economy started pushing oil prices up, and though COVID cases did surge over the holidays, I think there was renewed and continued optimism that those numbers would come down, and indeed they’ve done that.”

It is expected that prices will continue to rise as demand continues to climb.

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