This week saw a spike in gas prices, as the national average increased by 8 cents a gallon and Texas saw an average increase of 19 cents per gallon. According to experts, global economic factors are largely to blame.
Saudi Arabia-based OPEC, along with Russia, announced plans to slash output by 5 million gallons a day through the end of July. This cut in global supply was an attempt to offset an expected decrease in demand from China. Typically, OPEC and its allies – often referred to as OPEC+ – aim to keep U.S. gas prices around $75 per barrel.
"China's reporting some softer economic news, so there's not an expectation that China's going to resume buying levels of crude oil and refined products as they did this time last year," said Ed Hirs, a professor of energy economics at the University of Houston.
Meanwhile, there has been an increase in summer travel, as people attempt to escape the extreme heat.
"In terms of the overall width, breadth and strength of the market, it's really being driven by an uptick in summer driving coupled with the OPEC+ decisions to try and keep prices stable in the face of a little softer global economy," said Hirs.
Even with this week's spike, national gas prices are still lower than they were this time last year by an average of around 72 cents.
Hirs said he projects prices to stay relatively stagnant for the next few months until a shift in the seasonal gasoline blend.
"I expect to see the price stay firm into the fall as we switch off from the summer blend and go to the winter blend, which is a little less expensive," said Hirs.