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Rapid City sees 40 cent surge in gas prices

Gasoline prices are up over 75% since January.
Gasoline prices are up over 75% since January.(Jeffrey Lindblom)
Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 6:39 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Gas prices have been on the increase since they bottomed out in April of 2020 at $1.74 per gallon. Since then, the price has surged more than $1.00.

That means, if a car gets 20 miles to the gallon, a 768 mile round trip to Denver from Rapid city would have costed $66.00 a year ago. Instead, today, that same trip would cost $108.00.

Rhonda Keller, the District manager of AAA, says these increases have everything to do with supply and demand.

“We had zero demand last year. We were just starting the pandemic. People were going to work from home. So, there was no demand,” says Keller. “The gas head was stock piling in the refineries with no demand. So, that’s the reason we had it last year. We’re about 40-cents more than we were last year at this time.”

In the last month, Rapid City has seen a quick 37-cent increase in gasoline prices, and people like Laurie Schlecht, a local ride share driver, are noticing.

“You know, you’re always going passed one gas station after another as we’re driving around picking up passengers. You know, it kind of of hurts seeing those gas prices go up, and also knowing that this might not be the highest that we see it this year either,” says Schlecht. “You know, it definitely hurts.”

Other local business owners like Julie Farrell, with Thomas and Sons Moving Company, have been experiencing the same increase. Farrell is afraid they’ll have to raise their rates due to the gasoline prices and make the moving service less affordable.

The sudden increase in prices is what’s shocking Rapid City.

“Right now, I think what people are more panicked about is that we’ve seen a 30 cent increase in a month. So, that’s why people are panicking. But, the reason is, really, cost and demand,” says Keller.

With tourism season on the horizon, rates are expected to go up before they plateau.

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