Gas Pump

As hope increases for the end of this pandemic, Texas Tech economics professor Michael Noel says gas prices are increasing too.

"The world is getting back to business," he explained."The vaccines are going around and economies are opening back up. When economies open back up, people get in their cars, people drive, people want more gasoline, this increases demand for gasoline," Noel added.

Crude oil prices have risen steadily over the last few weeks, to $65 a barrel.

Noel says for each dollar of crude oil, that adds two and a half cents for a gallon of gas.

Nationwide, gas prices have increased by 14% on average in the last month, according to AAA.

He also says, gas usually increases by about 30 cents this time of year.

"The reason is subtle. There [are] two different types of gasoline that we sell in Lubbock and in fact throughout the country. One known as a winter blend, one known as a summer blend. The summer blend is specially formulated to try and reduce evaporation," he said.

Usually, producers make this switch around this time, causing some supply disruption.

"It's less money that I have at the end of the month. It is hurting the bottom line, pretty much. And if you live paycheck to paycheck, it is even worse," driver Lemuel Arroyo said.

Though it may be a pain at the pump, higher gas prices mean a better outlook for the Permian Basin oil and gas industry.

"We are now starting to get an indication that they're going to bring more of those oil fields back online. Which means more jobs, and more production," Noel said.

He expects gas prices to increase some, by 10 or 20 cents in the next few weeks, as crude oil has continued to increase in value and there is a lag effect before we see that reflected in gas prices.

But, Lubbock still has gas well below the national average.