Midstate gas demand sparks highest rates since 2014, data shows

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Gas prices in Central Pa. have reached a new all-time high Thursday, rivaling levels found all the way back in late 2014 according to data from GasBuddy.

For more than five days, a major gas pipeline feeding the east coast was shut down, sparking fears of gas shortages.

Panic buyers flooded gas stations on the East Coast prompting states such as North Carolina and Virginia to issue states of emergency.

On Wednesday, the company responsible, colonial pipeline, announced it has restarted operations following the Russian-based cyber attack.

But gas prices in the Midstate continued to climb. Interestingly, the trend started long before any pipeline cyber attack hit the headlines. Backing up, prices made a ‘U-turn’ around May of 2020 according to data from GasBuddy.

Gas prices begin to rise around this time every year and as COVID positivity rates continue to decline, demand goes up, people begin to travel and consume gas near pre-pandemic levels.

But some experts say the price hikes are not in response to a shortage of gas, but of truck drivers.

“Before this most recent crisis, they had about 25% of their tanker trucks sitting idle because they didn’t have drivers to fill them and that’s compared to about 10% normally,” said Rebecca Oyler, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association.

Some believe the panic buying for gas stems from the pandemic, and the panic buying Americans did for toilet paper, masks and disinfectants last year.

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