With recent reports on the hack of the Colonial pipeline and COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, average gas prices across the United States have creeped up to $3 a gallon, a rate not seen since 2014.

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This is according to a press release put out by GasBuddy, which surveys gas stations across the county and states that increasing gas prices are a sign of Americans looking to travel more and the economy returning to normal.

Rob Godby, Acting Associate Dean at Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources for the University of Wyoming, said the increase in prices are happening due COVID-19.

"Demand has increased as we come out of COVID, we simultaneously got less production than we had before, because a lot of production was taken offline during COVID, and simultaneously a lot of people stopped using gasoline," Godby said. "The timing of supply and demand are a little out of synch right now. Demand is going to come back before supply does and that's driving up oil prices."

While the current price may seem high in comparison to recent years, over the past 30 years, 2008 is when gas prices reached their peak, averaging $4.15 a gallon in June of that year.

Godby said that Wyoming will see an economic boost as demand for oil increases, though it may take some time for supply to catch up.

"These high oil prices are creating a bit of a windfall for Wyoming that we didn't expect," Godby said. "We are still an oil producer, we are producing less than we used to because of COVID, and the reaction to that, but oil prices have come back more quickly and strongly than we anticipated. So that is helping Wyoming revenue a little bit and helping to offset some of the budget crisis we've been in."

Godby said he believes gas prices will rise over the summer before falling back down by the fall, with the possibility of prices reaching towards $4 a gallon due to the unpredictability of factors like foreign oil supplies from Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

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