Driving school

Gas prices in San Antonio break records as summer driving season brews

Gas prices in San Antonio are the highest they’ve ever been, and as they keep climbing experts say they are unlikely to decline significantly anytime soon.

The average price in San Antonio was $4.52 per gallon, according to AAA Texas; diesel costs an average of $5.11.

Fuel prices have been rising steadily since mid-April, and gasoline prices are up about 64% since the start of June last year, according to AAA Texas.

In more concrete terms, a round trip to Austin in the Ford F-150, Texas’ most popular used vehicle, would cost around $31 in gas today. A year ago, that same trip would have cost about $17.72.

The fuel price spike has driven many price drivers to a gas station in northeast San Antonio, the K&P Food Store at 4802 Rittiman Rd., which GasBuddy.com lists as the cheapest gas in the city. town, and where a price sign for $4.09 hangs out in front. But the convenience store’s pumps are covered in plastic bags; the store hasn’t sold gas in three weeks, said a store employee who identified himself only as Joe. “I’m waiting for the price to drop.”

Prices in Texas are below the national average, which is $4.96, the highest price ever recorded by AAA.

A number of factors are responsible for the record price spikes, but it all comes down to supply and demand.

On the supply side: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted US leaders to declare a ban on all Russian oil imports, and European Union leaders to drastically withdraw from Russian supplies of which their countries depended historically. While the United States has never been a big consumer of Russian oil – Valero de San Antonio was the biggest importer, but even for them it accounted for about an eighth of its supply – the European Union has long relied on Russian oil, so the bans have sent many European countries to look elsewhere. And the global nature of the oil market means that disruptions everywhere tend to limit supply everywhere.

U.S. oil producers have been slow to respond, said Thomas Tunstall, director of research at UTSA’s Institute for Economic Development, as shareholders pressured them to spend their profits on buybacks. shares and in higher dividends instead of equity investments that would expand the drilling. A quarterly report from the Payne Institute of Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines, a geology-focused institute, found that because of this, production growth through 2022 “likely remains modest.”

Despite this reduced supply, demand is still strong. The summer travel season has begun and Tunstall said many households may be reluctant to cancel their plans. Air travel is one indicator. Even though jet fuel prices are partly pushing air fares above pre-pandemic levels, all U.S. airlines are reporting strong bookings for summer travel.

“Prices will likely continue to fluctuate, with relief likely only coming after the busy summer travel season ends,” AAA Texas spokesman Daniel Armbruster said in a prepared statement.

Tunstall said he doesn’t expect to see significant relief in gas prices until late summer at the earliest because any fix will take time.

“Sooner or later there will be ripple effects,” he said, such as consumers buying fewer trucks and more gas-efficient vehicles. This happened in the 2000s when gasoline prices were on the rise, but the effect quickly faded when prices fell. Tunstall said any lasting change in consumer behavior is only likely to happen if gas prices stay high for much longer.

Last March, the AAA warned that polls showed $4 a gallon was the “tipping point” at which drivers could begin to cut back on their driving. With prices having breached the $4 threshold, that could spell trouble for downtown San Antonio’s tourism industry, which derives much of its money from regional car travelers.