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Gas Price jump in Iowa a good sign, says expert

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Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 12:47 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Gas prices in Iowa have jumped to their highest level since 2018 but experts say it is actually a good sign and not directly tied to the shutdown of a key pipeline following a cyberattack.

The statewide average price of gas on Thursday was $2.90 a gallon according to GasBuddy, the highest that site has recorded since October of 2018. It’s also an increase It came a day after the national average gas price topped $3.00 per gallon. of Iowa’s neighbors, only Illinois had a higher average price of gas at $3.20 per gallon.

While some of that increase is attributable to the shutdown of a Colonial Pipeline that runs from Houston to New Jersey after a cyber attack, experts say it is also a positive and somewhat expected sign of economic recovery from the pandemic. Gas prices had fallen to less than $1.50 a gallon in Iowa last spring at the height of Pandemic shutdowns when many people were stuck at home and driving less.

“While this is not a milestone anyone wants to celebrate, it’s a sign that things are slowly returning to normal,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “In this case, rising gas prices are a sign Americans are getting back out into the world — attending baseball games, going to concerts, taking a road trip — basically staying anywhere but at home. This summer may see some blockbuster demand for fuel as well, as Americans find it very challenging to travel internationally, leading many to stay in the confines of U.S. borders, boosting some weeks to potentially record gasoline demand.”

A GasBuddy analysis predicted gas prices should settle down in time for summer travel, eventually dropping back into the upper $2 range nationwide.

The Colonial Pipeline restarted Wednesday but the company says it will take a few days for operations to return to normal and end gas shortages seen in parts of the southeast.

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