AUSTIN, Texas - Gas prices continue to climb in Texas.
The statewide average for the Lone Star State is $3.20 a gallon for regular unleaded, according to AAA Texas, nine cents more than last week and 35 cents more than last year.
Austin-area drivers are paying an average of $3.22 a gallon, up 4 cents from last week and up 38 cents from last year. However, it is more than a dollar lower than the record of $4.70 set in June.
El Paso-area drivers are paying the most on average at $3.56 per gallon. No metropolitan area in Texas is paying less than $3 a gallon, with the Brownsville-Harlingen metropolitan area seeing average prices at $3.02 per gallon.
Texas's gas prices are still lower than the national average of $3.87. Drivers in Texas are paying the third-lowest gas price average in the country, according to AAA Texas. Meanwhile, drivers in California are paying the most at $6.42 on average for a gallon over regular unleaded.
Why are gas prices climbing again?
A possible reason for why gas prices are climbing again is the recent decision from the OPEC+ alliance of oil-exporting countries to sharply cut production to support sagging oil prices.
OPEC+ announced it will cut production by 2 million barrels per day starting in November at their energy ministers' first face-to-face meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement, OPEC+ said the decision was based on the "uncertainty that surrounds the global economic and oil market outlooks."
AAA Texas says gas prices across Texas began increasing just hours before the anticipated announcement and the impact is expected to last through this coming weekend, possibly further, as "it’s too early to determine how high or long retail gasoline prices will increase."
The national gas price average had already been on the rise since mid-September due to factors including refinery issues on the West Coast, a refinery fire in the Midwest and Hurricane Ian. Supplies of refined gasoline and crude oil remain tight across the U.S., as demand climbed again this week.
The switchover from summer blend to the cheaper winter blend fuel has already taken place across most of the country, says AAA Texas.