(AAA) – The statewide gas price average in Texas is $2.39 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel, according to the AAA Texas Weekend Gas Watch. That price is 12 cents more than on this day last week and is 21 cents less 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 $2.76 while drivers in Tyler and Wichita Falls are paying the least at $2.28 per gallon.
The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $2.67, which is ten cents more compared to this day last week and 27 cents less than the price per gallon at this same time last year.
Motorists across Texas and the country are seeing pump prices spike due to the loss of crude oil production in Saudi Arabia. Drone attacks on two major oil facilities – including the world’s largest, Abqaiq, have taken 5.7 million (crude) barrels per day off the market, accounting for about 6% of the global supply.
As markets adjust to the loss of crude from the Saudi Arabian facilities, the exact impact on gas prices will depend largely on the extent of the damage at the facilities and how long it takes for the facilities to resume normal operations. Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said this week that half of the oil production that was lost has been restored and normal production would resume by the end of September. If this proves true, any price spikes being realized now will be short-term.
Following the attack, crude oil prices spiked by as much as $8 per barrel but are fluctuating, and West Texas Intermediate is now trading about $4 higher per barrel more than on this day one week ago.
“The price of crude accounts for at least 50% of the total retail gasoline pump price. Therefore, as the cost of crude increases, the price Texans pay to fill-up will follow suit,” said Daniel Armbruster, AAA Texas spokesperson. “With the exception of El Paso, most Texans are still paying slightly less for gas now compared to one year ago.”
U.S. dependence on Saudi Arabian crude imports has decreased in the past decade. Meanwhile, Texas drivers are seeing weekly spikes by as much as 39 cents per gallon in El Paso and as low as four cents in Odessa. For now all Texas metro areas have gas price averages below the average on this day one year ago, with the exception of El Paso.
AAA Fuel Savings Tips for Drivers
- Slow down and drive the speed limit. On the highway, aerodynamic drag causes fuel economy to drop off significantly as speeds increase above 50 mph.
- Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard acceleration. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.
- Take your car to a repair shop as soon as possible if the “Check Engine” light comes on. This indicates a problem that is causing excessive emissions and likely reducing fuel economy.
- Keep tires properly inflated. Underinflation reduces fuel economy, but more importantly, tires low on air degrade handling and braking, wear more rapidly and can overheat and blowout.
- Drivers can download the AAA Mobile App for free to find current gas prices along their route. The app is designed for iPhone, iPad and Android.
- Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in winter. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.
- Avoid prolonged idling in general. If your car will be stopped for more than 60 seconds, shut off the engine to save fuel. Many newer cars have automatic engine stop-start systems that do this.
- When driving in town, adjust your speed to “time” the traffic lights. This reduces repeated braking and acceleration that consume additional fuel.
- When approaching a red light or stop sign, take your foot off the gas early and allow your car to coast down to a slower speed until it is time to brake.
- Accelerate smoothly with light to moderate throttle. This allows the automatic transmission to upshift into higher gears sooner, reducing engine rpm and saving fuel.
- Use cruise control to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on slippery roads because a loss of vehicle control could result.
- Minimize your use of air conditioning. Even at highway speeds, open windows have less effect on fuel economy than the engine power required to operate the air conditioning compressor.
- Plan ahead to accomplish multiple errands in one trip, and whenever possible travel outside high-traffic times of day.
- If you own more than one car, use the most fuel efficient model that meets the needs of any given journey.