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Yes, demand is responsible for rising gas prices

AAA and Gas Buddy say current gas prices are the highest we've seen in years, but experts say President Joe Biden isn't the main cause.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Editor's Note: The headline of this article has been changed to clarify the root cause of the gas price increase.

If you've filled up your car recently, you know gas prices are higher than they were just a few weeks ago. AAA and Gas Buddy, a popular service that tracks gas prices nationwide, agree the current prices are the highest we've seen in years. 

In North Carolina, the average price of a gallon of regular is $3.24. That's the highest it's been since 2014, according to historic data from Gas Buddy.

So what's the reason behind rising gas prices? Many people have commented on WCNC Charlotte's Facebook page claiming President Joe Biden is the person to blame for the high cost of fuel, but industry experts say there are more factors contributing to the price increase than just the White House administration.

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THE QUESTION:

Is the Biden administration the main reason we are seeing higher gas prices? 

OUR SOURCES:

THE ANSWER: 

No, the Biden administration is not the main reason we are seeing higher gas prices. Instead, it's because of high demand and low supply. 

WHAT WE FOUND: 

According to AAA, North Carolina's average price for a gallon of regular unleaded sits at $3.24, the highest its been since 2014. In Charlotte, Gas Buddy shows the average price is $3.18.

"Demand continues to go up and the supply of oil does not," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at Gas Buddy, said. 

 "OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) has not increased production to those pre-pandemic levels," Tiffany Wright, a AAA spokesperson, said. "Last year, we weren't driving. Now the demand has increased, and what we are seeing is demand outpacing supply."

Wright and De Haan said rising gas prices aren't just a problem in the U.S., it's affecting the whole world. 

"Asia and Europe, right now they are suffering a natural gas shortage," Wright said. "So Asia and Europe are looking to the oil market so you have more increase in demand."

Furthermore, both said presidents don't control the price of gas. 

"Administrations have no control over gas prices," Wright said. "Gas prices are directly affected by the cost of oil. The biggest reason right now is the price of oil."

As of Wednesday, the price of a barrel of crude oil was above $80. Macrotrends, a platform that looks at oil prices across the world, shows crude oil prices below $20 a barrel in April 2020.

De Haan said the bulk of supply issues are linked to production and shipping disruptions similarly seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact Meghan Bragg at mbragg@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.   

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