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Kentuckians Were Feeling the Pinch at the Pump Before National Pipeline Disruption

Kentucky has seen the second-highest jump in gasoline prices in the nation, with a 12-cent increase over the past week. 

Still, the state’s average gas price of $2.85 a gallon, as of Wednesday, is still 16 cents less than the national average of $3.01. That’s the most expensive gas has been since 2014. 

Lynda Lambert, a spokeswoman for AAA’s East Central Division, says the spike in Kentucky was recorded before the shutdown of a national pipeline. She adds the main factor in the price of gas is the cost of crude oil, which has been on the rise.

“That is due to quite a bit of optimism around the world because of the vaccine rollout and we’re seeing improvement in the pandemic situation, so, they’re feeling more confident and feeling demand will increase," Lambert told WKU Public Radio.

Another factor behind sticker shock at the pump is the summer travel season, as well as taxes, marketing, and distribution of gas.  On top of that, AAA is predicting gas prices will rise another three to seven cents a gallon this week, amid fears of a fuel shortage caused by the Colonial Pipeline shutdown due to a cyberattack on the company’s computer systems.

Colonial Pipeline announced late Wednesday that it's restarted the pipeline that had been shutdown.

Lambert says the nation doesn’t have a shortage of gasoline, but a distribution problem. That, along with panic buying, has led to some gas stations running out of fuel.  At least one gas station in Bowling Green was out of low and mid-grade fuel Wednesday morning. 

According to AAA, the average price of gasoline nationally is up eight cents from last week, 14 cents from a month ago, and $1.15 from a year ago.

The travel and navigation app, GasBuddy, said in a news release on Wednesday that it expects summer gas prices not to set records, but settle down to levels more similar to 2018. The national average is expectedly to briefly soar above three dollars a gallon, but eventually fall back and remain in the upper $2 to lower $3 range.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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