By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Gas prices in all of Wyoming’s 23 counties have reached an average of more than $4 per gallon in a trend that likely to not stop any time soon, according to a University of Wyoming professor.
While UW economics professor Rob Godby told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday he does not necessarily think the state’s gas prices will reach an average of $5 per gallon of gas by the end of the summer, he does think it possible for prices to inch closer toward $4.50 or more.
“Typically what happens in the summer is prices rise due to the increased demand for gasoline in any normal year,” he said. “Certainly, the supply conditions internationally have, if anything, only worsened.”
Despite oil prices dropping from the historically high levels seen earlier this year, gasoline and diesel prices have continued to climb, reflecting the pressure caused by shortages in the market, particularly in Europe due to the war between Russia and Ukraine.
This, Godby said, is the biggest reason for the internationally tight market for refined oil products such as diesel and gasoline.
“Oil is definitely more scarce on the market,” he said. “And not only does Russia sell unrefined crude oil, but they’re also a major seller of refined oil products like diesel fuel and gasoline, especially to Europe. So Europe’s decision to stop buying Russian oil has really tightened the market for diesel and to a lesser extent, gasoline.”
There is not sufficient oil refining capacity to fill the hole caused by the Russian war, Godby said. He added if the war were to end tomorrow, the market would still be tight for a while after.
As of Thursday, the national gas price average is $4.59, while Wyoming’s average gas price was $4.27, according to GasBuddy.com, which tracks gasoline prices across the country.
The AAA, which maintains similar records, is predicting prices nationally will hit $6 per gallon by the end of the summer.
Godby said that some areas of Wyoming, such as Teton County, could see $5 gas prices or higher by the end of the summer, but he did not believe the state as a whole would see prices that high.
“They don’t call economics a dismal science for no reason,” he said.
Congressional conservatives are blaming the policies of President Joe Biden for the gas price explosion.
U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, told Energy Secretary Janet Granholm on Thursday that as soon as the president assumed office, he “…re-entered the Paris Climate Accord, he canceled the Keystone Pipeline, he halted leasing programs in ANWAR, he issued a 60-day halt on all new oil & gas leases and drilling permits on federal lands and waters, and he imposed new regulations.”