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Hurricane, COVID still creating gas price uncertainty
Gas prices
Gas prices

For the most part, gas prices in the area and around the state have remained steady over the last month, and despite lingering uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and Hurricane Laura, experts do not see prices varying much soon.

Kansas gas prices have risen one cent per gallon in the past week, averaging $1.97 per gallon as of Thursday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 1,329 stations. Gas prices in Kansas are 0.6 cents per gallon higher than a month ago and 36.6 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. Prices in Great Bend and around Barton County remain near, or slightly above, the state average, with prices ranging from $1.94 to $2.09 in Great Bend and around Barton County as of Thursday.

With Laura making landfall Thursday morning as a strong hurricane, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said he expects the impact from the storm to be minimal.

“There may be a slight increase in prices as a result, but unlikely more than a rise of 5-10 cents per gallon due to Laura,” DeHaan said. “There are other factors that may weigh into prices as well. Oil prices have recently reached their highest since March, too.”

With the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, DeHaan said demand has been limited, which has kept prices steady. However, he expects prices may fall slightly as fall seasonality takes hold.

Overall, though, DeHaan said these are the most stable summer gas prices he has seen in many years, and does not expect much overall change.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Kansas as of Thursday was priced at $1.74 per gallon, while the most expensive was $2.54 per gallon, a difference of 80.0 cents. 

However, prices in Great Bend and the state of Kansas remain well below the national average, which is $2.25 per gallon as of Thursday. The national average is down 7.1 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands 33.1 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

Average fuel prices for this date remain at their lowest point since 2010, with the previous low for this date in Kansas coming in 2016, when prices in Kansas averaged $2.15 per gallon, and $2.20 per gallon nationally. With the virus and hurricane season being major driving factors, he expects this trend to continue for some time.

“I see prices holding below normal until a major improvement in the coronavirus situation, such as a vaccine, or other catalyst that improves the situation,” he said.