Gas Prices on the Rise in Billings: Are We Paying More Than Past Years?
As we've all seen and experienced, the price of gas is on the rise. When I traveled to the Hi-line in mid-January I paid $2.19 a gallon for regular unleaded. I'm planning another trip that way over Memorial Day weekend and with the way gas prices have risen in less than four months, I am afraid to see how much it's going to cost to drive there and back.
It's easy to scream and shout that it's because of the current administration or that prices are up now because they were low last year due to the pandemic and people weren't traveling. And let's not forget the recent cyber attack on Colonial Pipeline, the nation's largest fuel pipeline which has caused gas shortages in the Southeast. Though the pipeline is open and fuel is flowing, there are still states that are without gas or much supplies. All of this could be true, but how does the price compare to May of previous years? I saw a post on Facebook (so take it for what it's worth) that in some states, gas is over $6 a gallon. I decided to do a little research, as I am a firm believer that you should tell both sides of the story and then let people make up their own minds.
So here we go. I already told you that in January of 2021 I went to the Hi-line and paid $2.19 per gallon for regular unleaded. Now at most pumps (at least here in Billings), it's $2.84 a gallon for regular unleaded. In all fairness, in May of 2020 the average price per gallon was less than two dollars a gallon according to The US Energy Information Administration. Again we can more than likely attribute that to the shutdown due to the pandemic. So you may be wondering if prices are higher today than they were over the last few years. According to the US Energy Information Administration here's what the average price of gas was in May over the last six years;
- 2015 the week of 5/18 $2.744
- 2016 the week of 5/16 $2.242
- 2017 the week of 5/15 $2.369
- 2018 the week of 5/21 $2.923
- 2019 the week of 5/20 $2.852
- 2020 the week of 5/18 $1.878
So, as we head to the gas pump to fill up, remember that the prices have been higher. That's not to say that they won't continue to rise as we get into summer and vacation season. How much are you willing to pay for a gallon of gas when it comes to leisure travel?