Global energy prices spiked Monday by a percentage unseen since the 1991 Gulf War after a weekend attack on key oil facilities in Saudi Arabia caused the worst disruption to world supplies on record.
Georgia gas prices were also up an average of four cents over last week following the weekend strikes, according to auto group AAA. In Cobb, a gallon of regular will set you back $2.48 on average, about the same as the other northern metro counties.
If you’re driving south, it’s always smart to fill up before you cross the Chattahoochee. Fulton County’s pump prices are among the highest in the state at $2.56 a gallon. Up to the northwest, residents of Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties are enjoying the lowest gas prices in the state at $2.22 a gallon.
AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano said the price increase could be the start of a trend.
“Americans can expect local pump prices to start to increase this week,” she said. “The jump could end up being as much as a quarter per gallon throughout this month. Whether this is a short or long term trend will be determined by the price of crude oil prices and how quickly the facilities in Saudi Arabia can recover and get back online.”
Damage to the Abqaiq oil processing plant and a key oil field is still being accessed, but there is no word if it will be days, weeks or even months before infrastructure is repaired.
The attack halted production of 5.7 million barrels of crude a day, more than half of Saudi Arabia’s global daily exports and more than 5% of the world’s daily crude oil production. Most of that output goes to Asia.
The auto group said the U.S. depends less on Saudi oil now than it has in recent years. The latest Energy Information Administration report showed the U.S. imported about 18,000 barrels in the first half of this year compared to 35,600 barrels in the first half of 2017.
Even with Monday’s bump, fuel prices were still 7 lower than last month and 30 cents lower than this time last year, on average.
But AAA said these gaps could soon shrink as the market adjusts to the news and crude oil prices increase.
Speaking to the MDJ from the Kroger Fuel Center on Powder Springs Road, Marietta resident Joseph Miller said he tries to be conscious of his fuel consumption when prices rise.
“I do try to make fewer unnecessary trips,” he said. “Both of the vehicles I have are gasoline vehicles, so I’m not driving any electric vehicles. I do try to reduce the amount of driving I do in general, especially at times like this. When it hits the wallet, it helps to be a little more mindful of how much I’m using my car, and can I make just one trip to get everything I need instead of driving around.”
Miller said he has been keeping up with the news around the attacks and hopes things get better.
“Hopefully it all gets settled,” he added. “I think what’s important during these times is, hopefully, for us as Americans, when things affect us at this level, it starts us thinking a little bit more about other parts of the world.”
Lucy Gregory, a nurse from Marietta, said she doesn’t change her driving habits when prices rise.
“I just kind of go about my business like I usually do,” she said.