Gas Prices Surge To 7-Year High

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Gas Prices Surge To 7-Year High
While energy demand has started to recover as pandemic restrictions ease, supply isn't keeping up.

If you've had to fill up lately, we don't have to tell you gas prices have nearly doubled in the past 17 months. In fact, the national average price has hit a seven-year high. 

AAA says a gallon of unleaded gas averages $3.27 nationwide. That is up seven cents just last week. 

Natural gas has also soared. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says prices are up 180% over the past year.

Prices have skyrocketed after OPEC and allied oil producing countries stayed with their gradual approach to restoring output slashed during the pandemic, agreeing to add only 400,000 barrels per day in November.

The decision by the Vienna-based oil cartel along with non-members including Russia tracks with its established schedule of adding back that amount of oil every month until deep cuts made in 2020 to support prices during the depth of the pandemic recession are restored next year.

The situation has changed since then as the global economy recovers. The decision comes amid stronger demand for oil products like gasoline and jet fuel, as driving and flying pick up around the globe due to the easing of restrictions aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

On top of that, unusually high prices for natural gas are pushing some electricity producers in Asia to switch from natural gas to oil-based products, helping support prices.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.