AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — According to GasBuddy, the average Amarillo gas price went up by more than 24 cents in the past week, but other regions are not seeing the same type of increase.

Judy Stark, the president of the Panhandle Producers & Royalty Owners Association (PPROA), said there are likely several reasons for the sudden increase.

Stark said gas prices always go back to supply and demand and with the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the supply is much lower.

“The other is…we are still seeing the effects of COVID, and with the new variants that have come out, we still see—maybe not the United States shut down as much—but there are other countries and so the gasoline still produced is a worldwide issue.”

Stark said the U.S. will also have to replace the 240 million barrels of oil released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

According to Stark, there is no concrete reason why gas prices should have increased so quickly locally. However, she said each company has the right to sell gasoline at the price they choose.

“And typically, lots of times anytime that does happen, if there’s an increase, it could be that other entities follow suit,” she said.

She continued, saying supply chain issues are still plaguing many industries, including oil and gas production. Stark said it is more expensive now and much more difficult to get supplies for pipelines.

“There’s drilling contracts that can’t be fulfilled because people are still waiting to get strings of pipe,” Stark said. “Again, it’s supply and demand, but it’s goods and services also. So it potentially could be that there may be gasoline that’s not being delivered.”

Stark said she thinks the price of oil will remain around $80 per barrel, and gas prices will potentially stay where they are, if not drop a small amount.

“One of the things that I would suggest to people is, use every advantage you can. Go to other apps, might be Gas Buddy, and look and see who has what discount that day. If you need to fill up, who’s selling the cheapest gas that day,” Stark added

She also encouraged drivers to use grocery stores with gasoline pumps attached, saying the discounts on gasoline can save them money.

Stark also noted that when oil and gas perform well, the majority of the Panhandle economy benefits.

“The top 32 counties of the Texas panhandle, the majority of them are oil and gas producers. So taxes go up, you know, so school taxes are taken from our from oil and gas producers property tax. And also the other thing that is done is those severance tax that oil and gas companies pay, all of that goes into the Texas rainy day fund,” said Stark. “Schools get more money when the oil and gas industry is doing better. Wages are significantly higher.”