Gas prices in the Texoma region rose 19 cents this week as local businesses slowly began reopening, bringing workers and consumers back on the roads.

Sherman-Denison drivers were paying $1.41 on average for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel as of Thursday, May 14, AAA Texas announced in its Weekend Gas Watch. That’s up from $1.22 on average last Thursday.

This week’s average is still over a dollar less than the $2.46 average the area saw at this time last year, the travel agency indicated.

The statewide gas price average is $1.54 per gallon, or four cents more compared to the same day last week and $1.03 less per gallon compared to the same day last year.

Of the major metropolitan areas surveyed in Texas, drivers in Midland are paying the most on average at $1.73 while drivers in McAllen are paying the least at $1.40 per gallon.

Pump prices are volatile as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on gas and crude oil demand. However, with more people returning to work, and some stay-at-home restrictions easing, gasoline demand is on the rise, AAA analysts noted. Therefore, gas prices are going up as well.

“More vehicles are on the road, and that is driving gasoline demand up along with prices,” AAA Texas spokesperson Daniel Armbruster said in a press release. “Though, drivers in the Lone Star State and still filling up with significantly less expense gas prices year-over-year and Texas has the fifth lowest gas price average of any state in the U.S.”

U.S. gasoline demand increased to around 7.4 million barrels per day, according to the latest report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That’s up from the nearly 6.7 million barrels per day the week prior.

The EIA also reports refinery utilization is down to 72% in the Gulf Coast region last week from 75% the week prior. At the national level, refinery utilization is down slightly week-over-week registering at 68%.

Prices were up to date at press time using market prices posted at 3:41 a.m. Thursday.

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