I want you to climb in your "way back" machine and travel back in time with me. You don't need to put on your shoes and socks, we aren't going that far back. In fact, Let's just go back about eight months ago. That would put us in mid to late February of this year.

Do you recall what was going on? If you said a winter storm you would be correct. After a devastating Hurricane Season of 2020 Louisiana started 2021 with an ice and snowstorm. Do you recall what you were paying for a gallon of regular gas back then?

Well, the national average for fuel was $2.46 a gallon. In Louisiana, at that time in history, we were paying just $2.28 a gallon. Now, we were expecting fuel prices to rise because of the inclement weather and because people were still a little more open-minded about travel since the devastating case counts of the Delta variant of COVID had not really started to stuff the state's hospitals and emergency rooms.

Now, let's fast forward to our present-day situation. Do you recall how much you paid per gallon on your most recent fill-up? If you put fuel in your tank in the city of Lafayette you probably paid anywhere from $2.85 to $3.15 a gallon for regular gas.

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According to Gas Buddy, driver's around the state were paying $2.91 for that same fuel just a month ago. What has caused fuel prices to suddenly grow by leaps and bounds?

You might think it would have to be damage from Hurricane Ida. Well, that did play a part in the rise in prices but not as big of a part as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita played in 2005.

According to Triple-A, the American Automobile Association, the blame for higher gas prices can be placed squarely on higher crude oil prices. Prices for crude oil have jumped five bucks in the last week. When we checked them just a few days ago producers were getting $85 a barrel with some speculators suggesting that price will rise to $100 a barrel or more.

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Now, you'd think that a rise in oil prices would be great news for Louisiana and all of the associated oil and gas companies and jobs that we have tied to that commodity. Well, so far, the higher prices have not created a surge in oilfield employment. That's because oil-producing nations, such as OPEC have opted to not increase production. In fact, they appear to be holding back on production.

Their reasoning would have to be based on simple economic principles of supply and demand. Right now there is ample supply and the demand is currently fueling a rise in price.

Who knows, maybe the higher price per barrel of oil will eventually lead more and more South Louisiana companies into rebuilding their workforce. That would certainly be good news for our local economy. Higher gas prices though just might eat up all of that enthusiasm. So, I guess we're just going to have to wait and see how it all plays out. Besides, there's not much we can do about it anyway.

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