Fears of surging gas prices in the U.S. mostly haven’t come to pass so far this year, but people are paying a lot more at the pump in one, particularly far-flung place: Guam.
The U.S. territory in the Western Pacific Ocean saw gas prices rise to $4.52 a gallon last week. That’s the highest prices in Guam have been since the start of 2020.
According to Pacific News Center, the average price for gasoline in Guam was at $4.25 in early January of last year, before slipping below $4 in February, even dropping below $3 in late April, as the pandemic hurt demand for gasoline.
However, prices in Guam gradually inched up for most of the rest of 2020, before hitting $4 again in February. The prices went to $4.19 on February 19, $4.29 on March 1 and $4.42 on March 17, before hitting $4.52 a gallon on May 7.
A February article by the same publication hinted that gas prices are rising as coronavirus cases drop, restrictions are lifted, and demand therefore increases for gasoline, with more cars on the road.
Per the EIA, because Guam has no crude oil reserves or oil production, most of its petroleum is imported from Asian countries. That likely accounts for prices that are unusually high. Also, per the Pacific News Center, « the three fuel companies on island usually mirror each other’s prices and when one company increases its price, the others follow. »
As for the mainland U.S., while gas prices have been incrementally rising, they haven’t gotten nearly to the level as they are in Guam.
According to GasBuddy, which publishes a weekly report about gas prices, the average price of gas rose 0.7 cent per gallon for the week ending May 3, reaching $2.89 per gallon. That average is now 1.8 cents higher than it was a month ago and $1.13 per gallon higher than in May of 2020, when the nation was still in the early throes of the pandemic.
“The nation’s gas prices perked up again last week as oil prices advanced to fresh multi-year highs on Covid improvements overseas and the switch to summer gasoline, which is basically now complete,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said in the report.
“Last week saw the national average hit its highest level in two years, and with continued recovery in gasoline demand, the increase in price is likely to continue into the future. Americans may now want to brace themselves for the possibility of a $3/gal national average in the weeks ahead, as demand remains strong as Americans take to the roads. The question going forward is how much demand will continue to recover and rise — will it lead to record summer gasoline demand? We indeed may see some weeks with new records as Americans get in their cars this summer — but the question is how many will do so? That will determine how much higher prices will go.”
That report was issued prior to last week’s reported cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.