NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — While the steady rise of prices at the pump may be a shock to your wallet, the reason behind the boost may not be as much of a surprise.

“Oil prices now are at their highest prices in seven years, approaching $83 a barrel,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of Petroleum Analysis with GasBuddy.

He said the rise in prices is because the oil demand continues to go up, and oil production has been continuously behind.

A disparity that started with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Americans parked their cars. Oil demand, and oil prices plummeted,” DeHaan said. “I think we can all remember how great that was, to pay a dollar and some change for gasoline.”

He continued, “That was where the damage came from. Oil companies started to greatly throttle back on production, shutting down production, and laying off thousands of workers – only for demand to come roaring back.”

While there has been an increase in oil production the demand has also increased as well.

However, the lag is now sizeable enough that drivers are, quite literally, paying the price.

“We’ll probably see averages in the low to mid $3 a gallon range,” said DeHaan. That’s well above what it should be, which is the mid to upper $2 per gallon range.

Average prices for unleaded gas as of October 18 according to AAA

  • National: $3.32
  • Tennessee: $3.11
  • Nashville: $3.16
  • Memphis: $3.10
  • Knoxville: $3.10
  • Clarksville: $3.09
  • Chattanooga: $3.10

DeHaan said it could take a while before prices at the pump start trending back down.

“The bottom line for consumers, I don’t think this is going to change in the weeks ahead. Maybe by the end of the year. If we’re lucky,” he emphasized.

So, what is the best way to save at the pump? He said to shop around.

“I can’t tell you how many times in this environment, I’ve seen motorist that have said ‘I pulled in, I was on E, and half a mile down the street there was a gas station that was 30 cents less.’ That highlights the potential for overspending.”

There are several apps you can use to help you save on gas, like GasBuddy, Waze, AAA Mobile and Gas Guru just to name a few. Some other tips include, joining a gas rewards program, carpooling, ride-sharing, and of course driving less often.