TYLER (KYTX) - Just in these last two weeks we've seen gas in East Texas spike about 10 cents and unfortunately, that's going to continue up for the next couple months.
The recent gas spike from around $3.09 to $3.19 a gallon isn't very easy to miss
"It's very noticeable. When I'm driving down the street, I think maybe the next gas station will be a little lower, but it's like, no it's not getting any better," says Alexis Beltran from Tyler.
Beltran says she spends most of every day driving.
"Pretty much all day every day. I fill up my tank maybe two times a week," she says.
She does notice this spike hitting her pocketbook every spring, but her question is why?
UT Tyler Assistant VP of Strategic Initiatives, Dr. Herald Doty, says every year around this time the refineries do routine maintenance that halts production. Plus, they're switching out the type of gas produced.
"The refineries are shifting over from a winter blend of gasoline to the cleaner burning summer blend and just that change in blends adds something between 14 and 18 cents a gallon because it's more expensive to make," Doty says.
The springtime refinery maintenance is no shock to Dr. Doty, but there's also a unique situation pushing gas prices up, that he's never seen before.
"The trouble in the Ukraine is actually forcing prices up a little bit, but not the way people think. What's happened is, that's forcing up corn prices. Most of our ethanol is made with corn, so the ethanol prices are going up because of trouble in the Ukraine. The effects we're seeing bleeds through to gasoline prices," Doty says.
Doty says the prices could average out at $3.50 a gallon this spring, but they should start to head back down around may
That's something Beltran is looking forward to.
"I need my lower gas prices!" she says.
The good news is the peak this year is going to be about 28 cents lower than the peak last year and that's a trend Doty says is supposed to continue for the next couple years.
You may think East Texas gas around $3.20 a gallon is high, but just be glad you're not in Los Angeles. That's where the most expensive gas is in the U.S. right now, averaging a whopping $3.94 a gallon!