AAA says coronavirus vaccine might have played role in gas price jump

The coronavirus vaccines might have contributed to a rise in gasoline prices illustrated by photo of Kroger gas station on South Cobb DriveKroger gas station on Concord Road and South Cobb Drive (the photo was taken last year, so the prices are outdated)-- photo by Larry Felton Johnson

Gasoline prices jumped four cents in Georgia over the past week, and rising crude oil prices due to the positive news about the development of the coronavirus vaccines might have played a role.

According to a press release from Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman for AAA – The Auto Club Group, Georgia prices at the pump have risen four cents over the past week, to a statewide average of $2.00 per gallon for regular unleaded.

But the general trend is still relatively low gasoline prices.

“As demand continues to decline into the winter driving season, Georgians should expect gas prices to remain lower when compared to last year’s pump prices, moving into 2021,” said Waiters.

Why are prices rising?

AAA said the short-term rise in prices was due to an increase in the price of crude oil.

Their press release stated:

Since last Monday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has increased by 4 cents to $2.16.

Since mid-November, domestic daily crude prices have steadily increased toward $45 per barrel, contributing to pump prices rising across the country in just this last week.

However, low demand will likely limit price gains, with the latest report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showing that demand decreased from 8.13 million barrels a day to 7.97 million barrels a day last week – the lowest reading since early June.

Effects of coronavirus vaccines on oil prices

AAA gave optimism over the development of the coronavirus vaccine as a reason for the surge in oil prices but stated that the recent increase in infections was likely to limit the increase.

Their press release stated:

At the close of last Thursday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by 36 cents to settle at $45.64. Crude prices increased that week amid growing market optimism that vaccines for the coronavirus will be available in the coming weeks.

However, the current surge in the number of infections domestically appears to have capped crude oil price gains while states increase measures meant to stop the spread of the virus. Additionally, the increase in prices was supported by EIA’s weekly report revealing that total domestic crude inventories fell by 700,000 barrels to 488 million barrels last week.

Cobb County gasoline prices

The average price in Cobb County is $1.993, about a cent lower than the statewide average. 

It is always possible to find lower gas prices than the average by comparison shopping or using tools like

How does AAA determine gas prices?

AAA explains it’s methodology for collecting data on gasoline prices at the pump as follows:

AAA updates fuel price averages daily Every day up to 130,000 stations are surveyed based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability. All average retail prices in this report are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline.