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What impact does the summer season have on today's high gas prices?

Gas and diesel prices have climbed to record levels again, leaving many to wonder about the many factors behind the latest spike.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Expect to pay more at the pump again. Gasoline and diesel prices across the United States and in the Carolinas are climbing to record levels. 

The hike has prompted some to ask why it's happening yet again as we inch toward the summer vacation season.


Is the summer vacation season the number one factor in the latest increase in U.S. gas prices?


Patrick De Haan with GasBuddy


U.S. Energy Information Administration


No, the summer vacation season is not the number one factor in the latest gas prices increase.


EIA numbers show demand for gas in the United States is up slightly over the last two weeks. 

But crude oil prices shot up last week after the European Union announced a proposal to ban Russian oil imports, according to AAA.

De Haan said oil prices went up by $9 a barrel.

RELATED: Price of diesel hits record high in the Carolinas as fuel costs surge

"That's not really seasonal by nature," said De Haan. "Yeah, sure, it's ahead of the summer driving season, but that's doesn't really adequately explain what's going on."

De Haan said Americans are also seeing less oil production ability at home.

"The nation lost about a million barrels a day of refining capacity," said De Haan. "That's about 5% of global capacity that's disappeared in the last three years. And that's part of why diesel prices have exploded."

The biggest factors: demand among American drivers is up; the Russia-Ukraine war fallout continues to impact global supply; and the U.S. has lower refinery capacity.

"There's a lot of complexities," said De Haan. "And I think seasonality is just you know, that may be too easily summarizing all the different mechanics at play."

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