COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- It's hard not to take notice: gas prices are up in Colorado and across the country, and those prices may not have reached their peak.
“If production levels stay roughly where they are at, I think you will see the price continue to increase," says Donnie Wisenbaker, the CEO of Pike Peak Energy in Colorado Springs.
At this time last year, gas was less than two dollars a gallon, averaging around $1.61 in Colorado Springs according to gasbuddy.com. Now in June 2021, prices have jumped up to $3.09.
Wisenbaker says a rise is common for the summer months, saying, “From Memorial Day to Labor Day typically you always see a little higher gas prices."
However, there are other unique factors that have caused this recent increase with oil prices playing the biggest role. Wisenbaker says, “As oil prices increase you see a correlation between that and gas prices."
The price of crude oil on the West Texas Intermediate as of May 28, 2021, was $66.32 per barrel. Last May, the price for oil was down to $19.78 per barrel.
Oil production is another contributing factor. The pandemic caused oil companies to scale back production with many people staying home and not traveling. Wisenbaker says since then, production has started to ramp up but refineries are still cautious and don't want to find themselves with a lot of product on hand. From there, he says it becomes supply and demand economics.
“You curtail a little bit of production, you’re going to see that at the pump because there is less gas to go around," Wisenbaker says.
Wisenbaker also says the February freeze in Texas and the cyber attack on the Colonial Pipeline did play a small role in the increase, but it was mainly because it led to people panic buying and hoarding gas which he says was not necessary. “It’s toilet paper all over again," Wisenbaker. "There is plenty of fuel, if anything we had fuel surpluses.”
As for claims that President Joe Biden is another reason for the increase, Wisenbaker said, “In my experience, presidents don’t really have a lot of input on what happens."
Wisenbaker added that policies from the president may impact future prices, but nothing in regard to day-to-day impacts.