Gas prices seeing yearly fluctuation, multiple factors to blame

As folks begin to return from holiday travel, one thing remains on travelers' minds: gas prices.

With supply and demand affecting rates, gas prices have returned to pre-pandemic figures.

According to the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energygas prices reached as high as $3.55/gal in 2014, and they did not drop below $2.50/gal. In 2015, the monthly gas prices started going down, staying under $3.00/gal monthly. For a five year average Nebraska has been between $2.00-$2.50/gal.

Nebraska, like the rest of the country, is starting to see pre-2015 prices again. 


During the pandemic, there was less travel, which led to gas prices going down. Prices dipped below $2.00/gal, according to a graph by Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy. In places facing less travel-related impact due to the pandemic, gas prices are going up with travel increases bringing the gas prices up to $3.00/gal.

Due to the timing of price fluctuations, the question is often asked: How much effect do politicians have on gas prices? Experts say the impact from elected officials is limited, if at all.

Fuel prices are influenced by four main factors according to LeithCars; these factors are “taxes, distribution and marketing, the cost of refining, and crude oil prices.” 

LeithCars says that the main cause for fluctuations is the demand for crude oil. 

The U.S. Energy Information Administration says that gas prices change with crude oil prices. 

More recent events are likely to give the United States higher gas prices, for example, Hurricane Ida. The Gulf Coast is where most oil for the U.S. comes from. 

Though the prices aren’t likely to be higher for long, this can still bring prices up as ExxonMobil and other companies drill in the Gulf for more oil. 

On August 29, the Federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement reported that 95.65% of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico had been temporarily closed down, as well as 93.75% of natural gas production. If infrastructure was damaged during storms, companies can face further delays, causing a further rise in gas prices.