Gas prices continue to increase amid summer heat

August 3, 2023

Last month’s extreme heat played a role in the recent spike in gas prices due to some refineries pulling back, but now operations are getting back to normal.

AAA spokesperson, Andrew Gross. As much of the United States continues to experience extreme heat, refineries have scaled back production, causing prices to go up at the pump.

Why It Matters: Gas prices have reached their highest level of the year, increasing an average of 29 cents a gallon over the past month nationwide. The two main reasons for this are rising oil costs and refineries having to cut production, as many refineries are not intended to operate when it is 95 degrees Fahrenheit or above. The Washington Post explains, “Much of the country’s refinery capacity is in areas of Texas and Louisiana where the average daily maximum temperature in July has been at least 95 degrees.” As long as the sweltering temperatures last, production has to be scaled back for safety and efficiency purposes and the price at the pump will reflect the changes to production.

Bigger Picture: Head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, Patrick DeHaan, explains that “Heat has been a sudden jolt the past two weeks, but brewing behind the scenes has been the price of oil, which for five straight weeks has been rising. The Russians and Saudis have been colluding to limit production into the market at a time that it’s looking like the economy may not get dragged to the depths of a recession.”

However, gas prices are still less than they were last summer, when the average price per gallon peaked at $5 in June 2022. Today’s national average price is $3.82.

For a closer look at gas prices across the country, check out this map from AAA and read their analysis here.

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by Jenna Lee,