Thu, Feb 1, 2024 5:01 PM
By Ria Joseph, The Center Square
The price of regular unleaded gas in Arkansas rose by 10 cents over last week's price to average at $2.77, according to the AAA Arkansas Weekend Gas Watch.
Texarkana drivers are paying the highest average among major metropolitan areas with an average price of $2.91 per gallon of unleaded fuel, while Fort Smith, with an average of $2.70, has the least expensive fuel price.
Commuters in Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers saw the price increase by 18 cents per gallon, the highest of all the metropolitan areas.
Across the country an increase in the demand for fuel has been reported by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). “U.S. crude oil imports averaged 5.6 million barrels per day last week, increased by 25 thousand barrels per day from the previous week,” EIA said.
The National average price increased by 5 cents from a week ago to $3.15 per gallon.
“All signs in the oil and gas industry – supply, demand, and crude oil – currently point to higher fuel prices for drivers,” said AAA spokesperson Nick Chabarria. "As long as these factors remain unchanged, particularly higher crude oil prices, drivers can expect to pay more when filling up.”
The spot price of WTI crude is up 6.11% over last week at $74.22. Concerns around Houthi attacks in the Red sea and tensions in the middle east could further impact oil prices.
“Global supply and demand for oil impacts barrel prices, and when demand is high or supply tightens, the price per barrel rises,” a report by GasBuddy clarified. “Turning crude oil into fuel isn’t cheap…Operational expenses, equipment upkeep, transportation – it all gets factored in to the price we end up paying at the pump.”
Arkansas slipped from a 2nd place ranking for lowest gas prices, to an 8th place ranking among states with lowest gas prices, but is nowhere near its record high price of $4.54 seen in June of 2022.
So what can drivers in Arkansas do to ease the impact of increasing prices?
“Filling up when prices fluctuate can be challenging. Gas prices are comprised of oil prices, refining process costs, distribution and transportation expenses, station operation charges and taxes,” GasBuddy said. “With such an intricate calculation, it’s no wonder we see fluctuation at the pump! But arming yourself with the inside scoop helps take some of the sting out of gassing up during times of rising or volatile fuel costs.
Being an informed consumer makes even high price tags a little less painful. Always check prices near you BEFORE filling up.”