The statewide gas price average in Texas is $3.08 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel, according to the AAA Texas Weekend Gas Watch. That price is eight cents more than from this day last week and is 93 cents more per gallon compared to this day last year. Of the major metropolitan areas surveyed in Texas, drivers in El Paso are paying the most on average at $3.23 per gallon while drivers in Amarillo are paying the least at $2.97 per gallon. The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.41, which is six cents more when compared to this day last week and 98 cents more than the price per gallon at this same time last year.
According to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration, demand for gasoline in the U.S. decreased week-to-week by around three percent, which is normal during winter months as fewer people drive. Weekly regional fuel supply numbers stayed pretty much the same, and Gulf Coast refinery utilization registered steady from the week prior. Uncertainty over Russia’s intentions toward Ukraine is contributing to higher crude oil prices, which were closing in on $90 per barrel earlier in the week. Russia is a member of OPEC+, and any sanctions based on their actions toward Ukraine may cause it to withhold crude oil from the global market. Higher oil prices will lead to higher pump prices for drivers. OPEC+ also agreed to keep with gradual oil output increases through March, which may help keep oil from passing the $90 mark, for now.
In addition to rising crude oil prices, AAA Texas notes that gas prices across the state started increasing at a much faster rate in the days leading up to a winter storm that’s now covered much of North and Central Texas with freezing rain, sleet and snow. Drivers are reminded to keep their vehicle gas tanks at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up, which can cause costly damage to the fuel line and other internal parts.
“Drivers are likely going to be paying more at the pump as demand for gasoline has been stronger compared to last year and global tensions are driving crude oil prices higher,” said AAA Texas spokesperson Daniel Armbruster. “Drivers can save money on gas by making sure their vehicle is well-maintained, adhering to safe driving habits such as following the speed limit and keeping their tires properly inflated.”
AAA Texas and Discount Tire have teamed up to remind drivers about the importance of well-maintained tires, which are critical to maintain traction on wet roads:
- Inflate Tires to the Correct Pressure. Check your tires’ air pressure when the tires are cool, because heat (from driving or the ambient temperature) can increase tire pressure readings by several pounds per square inch (psi). Check the Tire Pressure Often. Tires lose pressure naturally—typically 1–3 psi per month—because a tire’s sidewall is permeable. Low tire pressure results in poor handling and braking, reduced gas mileage, and excessive wear. So be sure to check your car’s tire pressure at least once a month—especially before a long trip.
- Check the Tread Depth. A tire’s ability to stop within a safe distance becomes compromised when its tread depth reaches 4/32 inch. An easy way to determine if a tire is worn out is to place an upside-down quarter (not a penny) in a tire tread. If you can see the top of George’s head, it’s time to replace the tire.
- Rotate Your Tires Regularly. Ideally, rotate your tires every 5,000 miles—which, coincidentally, is a required service interval for many cars today.
- Check the Tread Pattern. If you’ve kept your car’s wheels balanced and aligned and its tires rotated and properly inflated, the tread should wear evenly across the width of the tire. Check your tires periodically for uneven wear patterns and replace tires if necessary.
- Know the Tire’s Age. As a tire ages, its rubber becomes hard and brittle, losing elasticity and strength. Therefore, the older a tire, the higher the risk for failure. We recommend replacing any tire that’s six years old or older.
- Check Your Trunk. An increasing number of new vehicles today come with tire-inflation kits instead of spare tires; some vehicles are equipped with run-flat tires and no spare tire. Check to see which option your vehicle has. If it does have a spare tire, make sure to keep it properly inflated. Small temporary spare tires—a.k.a. donuts—typically have the correct pressure stamped on the side of the tire.
- Don’t Overload Your Vehicle. The combination of underinflated tires and an overloaded a vehicle is one of the most dangerous conditions, because the tires can overheat and possibly fail. Check your car’s owner’s manual for your vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating, which is its maximum operating weight, including the weight of the vehicle, passengers, and cargo (but excluding a trailer).
Drivers in Texas are paying the third lowest gas price average in the country, according to gasprices.aaa.com. Meanwhile drivers in California are paying the most at $4.65 on average for a gallon over regular unleaded.
Prices up to date at press time using market prices posted at 3:41 a.m. Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free and revamped AAA App for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route and learn traffic conditions along that route, find discounts, locate parking, book a hotel and request and track AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at www.AAA.com/mobile.
To help members and non-members identify quality auto repair shops that can assist in the maintenance and repair of their vehicles, AAA offers the Approved Auto Repair program as a free public service. AAA-approved repair facilities meet and maintain high professional standards for training, equipment, cleanliness and customer service. Motorists can look for the Approved Auto Repair sign at local auto repair facilities, or search for a nearby AAA-approved shop online at AAA.com/Repair. AAA Texas branch offices throughout the state can be found by visiting www.AAA.com. Follow AAA Texas on Twitter: @AAATexas and Facebook: www.facebook.com/AAATexas.