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Omaha-metro gas prices reach 7-year high

Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 7:08 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Gas prices in the Midwest aren’t expected to stop climbing anytime soon.

Patrick De Haan, Lead Petroleum Analyst at Gas Buddy said it’s because crude oil production is at a standstill and has been since the pandemic began, despite more Americans hitting the road.

De Haan said prices began to climb in November when news of the first coronavirus vaccine would be released.

“Since then, we’ve seen millions of Americans getting vaccinated. States have reopened and as a result, there’s been a drop in coronavirus cases. Americans are finding places to drive,” he explained.

In the Omaha-metro, prices are their highest since 2014 when a gallon of gas climbed to $3.53.

So far, the highest price 6 News found was at the Kum & Go on 120th & Blondo, $3.10 for regular gas.

Rideshare drivers said they’re starting to feel the pain in their pockets. Two Uber drivers both estimated about a $10 increase in what they pay to fill up their tank, just within the last 30 days.

One driver said he has colleagues who refuse to accept long trips, hoping to stretch his dividends and gas by increasing the amount of shorter ride and betting on tips.

Gas Buddy said OPEC acted quickly to reduce oil production when the demand plunged but they’ve been very slow to reverse course. The company estimates the summer could be when prices level off.

For now though, De Haan said “As things across the country improve, I only see an upward trend in our future.”

De Haan also said gas companies can choose to raise their prices arbitrarily. It doesn’t happen often because they know consumers will just go to the nearest, cheapest station, but they’re still allowed to do it.

That makes Uber drivers nervous. One retiree said he depends on the money from Ubering a few hours a day to pay bills. He’s even made it a habit to fill up in Council Bluff’s when he’s in the area, because he said their gas is still around $2.35 a gallon.

The average gas price in the Omaha-metro is $2.69 and the cheapest 6 News found was $2.49 at both the BP on 60th & Center and the Mega Saver on 55th & Center.

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