Gas prices remain up despite decreased demand

DES MOINES — It’s the dead of winter and Iowans are driving much less, especially compared to summertime, but gasoline prices are defying the basic lessons of economic by rising, even though demand is falling.

Meredith Mitts, the spokeswoman for AAA-Iowa, says crude oil prices are setting the bar.“ In the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen an increase in total stocks and a decrease in demand which typically puts downward pressure on those pump prices,” Mitts says, “but because we are seeing these rising crude oil prices, the pump prices continue to go up.”

Part of the reason for the higher prices is rising concerns over the potential for war overseas. “This time of year is usually a time that we would see a little bit of those lower prices at the pump but it will depend a little bit on that tension between Russia and Ukraine,” Mitts says. “That’s a major contributor to these oil prices, so it will depend on any sanctions that come out of that and how those conversations go.”

The average price for a gallon of gas in Iowa is $3.23, which is up eight cents a gallon in the past week and it’s up 18-cents in the past month. A year ago, gas in Iowa was averaging $2.36, almost a dollar less. The national average is now $3.44.

Across Iowa, the cheapest gas is $3.19 a gallon in both Iowa City and Davenport, while the most expensive gas is in Dubuque at $3.32.