National average gas price hits $2.94, but Topeka’s stays lower & level

Local News

Gas prices at a Mobil gas station in Vernon Hills, Ill., (AP file/Nam Y. Huh)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP/KSNT) — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline jumped a nickel per gallon over the past two weeks to $2.94, and while Topeka’s average gas price is up, it has stayed consistently lower than the nation’s.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that the national price at the pump might be near its peak as gasoline supply evens out across the country. The price of gas has spiked 77 cents per gallon since Nov. 20 and is at the highest point since May 2019.

The highest average price in the nation right now is $3.94 a gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area. The lowest average is $2.54 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Topeka’s price started the month at $2.55 before quickly rising to $2.67, but it has stayed in the $2.65 range consistently through March.

View Gasbuddy’s live chart tracking the price of gas:

On Monday, salvage teams freed a colossal container ship stuck for nearly a week in the Suez Canal, ending a crisis that had clogged one of the world’s most vital waterways and halted billions of dollars a day in maritime commerce. The blockage had caused delays in oil deliveries, with at least 367 vessels, carrying everything from crude oil to cattle, backed up as they wait to traverse the canal.

Dozens of others have taken the long, alternate route around the Cape of Good Hope at Africa’s southern tip — a 3,100-mile detour that costs ships hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel and other expenses.

While the canal is now unblocked, it is unclear when traffic would return to normal. Analysts expect it could take at least another 10 days to clear the backlog on either end. The vital trade route carries over 10% of global trade, including 7% of the world’s oil. Over 19,000 ships ferrying Chinese-made consumer goods and millions of barrels of oil and liquified natural gas flow through the artery from the Middle East and Asia to Europe and North America.

Financial markets also reacted to the news, with energy stocks in the S&P 500 falling 1.5% in afternoon trade while the price of U.S. crude made small gains of 0.6% to $61.35 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 0.2% to $64.56 per barrel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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