By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Despite gas prices hitting a record peak last week, it is unlikely the price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline will hit $5 in Wyoming, two experts told Cowboy State Daily this week.
University of Wyoming economics Professor Rob Godby and Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association Executive Director Grier Bailey told Cowboy State Daily that barring some chaotic world event, neither believed that gas prices would increase all the way to $5.
Godby pointed out that although the gas price record was technically broken last week, if adjusted for inflation, the $4.11 high in 2008 would convert to about $5.20 today.
“So when you adjust for inflation, we’re still not at a record level, and we’d have to be over $5 a gallon to hit that level and feel the same impact the way we did 14 years ago when we hit the highest prices,” he told Cowboy State Daily on Monday. “
The professor did say it was possible for one, two or a handful of gas stations to set their prices at $5 per gallon or higher, but the statewide average will likely not cross the $5 line.
“Oil prices are hovering around $100 a barrel, so they’re beginning to settle down,” he said. “That reflects the fact that the world is coming to terms, a little bit, with the uncertainty of the war [between Russian and Ukraine]. There was a lot of panic-buying early on when we hit $130 per barrel.”
Godby noted that gas prices tend to go up faster than they come down, but added he expected the prices to level off, if not decrease somewhat, in coming weeks.
According to AAA, Wyoming’s average gas price was $4.02 per gallon Tuesday, with the most expensive prices being found in Uinta and Teton counties, more than $4.20 per gallon.
The national average for gas prices is $4.31 per gallon.
Bailey told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday that Wyoming gasoline prices are being kept relatively low by state policies.
“The Wyoming Legislature and administration have a balanced energy policy and the cost of fuels for Wyoming families and businesses should remain lower than the rest of the country,” he said. “Compared to states like Colorado, where the administration is likely to move forward with a 45-cent increase through state-supported federal action, Wyoming families can take comfort. The cost of crude oil remains the primary driver of prices, with a growing percentage exacerbated partially due to speculative commodity trading, which should abate as prices stabilize.”
Bailey added that the “silly and family-devastating prices” seen in states like California and Colorado were being skewed by “punitive and unnecessary” government regulation, which Wyoming’s policies guard against.
California’s gas price average is $5.75 per gallon on Tuesday, according to AAA. Nevada’s average gas prices were just a few cents short of $5 at $4.96 per gallon.