Kansas gas prices have risen over the past week. The increase isn't fueled by the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack.

Tim Hrenchir
Topeka Capital-Journal
Ashley Patrick, Silver Lake resident, fills up a secondary gas can for her mower Wednesday morning from Max’s Amoco gas station, 1301 S.W. Gage Blvd.

Kansas is seeing rising gasoline prices but not for the same reason the East Coast and South are seeing spikes.

A recent cyberattack disabled computer systems and crippled the major gas pipeline that serves large parts of the East Coast and the South while bringing those areas gas shortages and rising fuel prices, according to AAA Kansas.

Average gasoline prices in Kansas rose 9 cents in the seven-day period that ended Wednesday. That increase continues a nationwide trend in which rising demand in recent weeks has brought higher gas prices nationwide, said Shawn Steward, spokesman for AAA Kansas. 

More:Gas prices top $3: What you need to know about gas shortages, Colonial Pipeline cyberattack

Why are gas prices going up?

The increased demand comes because people are driving more at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be slowing down, he told The Topeka Capital-Journal on Wednesday.

The average price charged for regular unleaded gasoline Wednesday in Kansas was $2.837 cents a gallon, according to the AAA website, which said $2.857 per gallon was the average price for regular unleaded gasoline Wednesday in Shawnee County.

AAA Kansas said the statewide figure was up 9 cents from the statewide average of $2.747 a gallon recorded a week earlier, 6.7 cents from the statewide average of $2.77 a gallon recorded Monday and 2.7 cents from the statewide average of $2.81 a gallon recorded Tuesday.

The statewide average of $2.77 a gallon on Monday was 19 cents below the national average of $2.96 a gallon, which meant the Sunflower State had the 13th lowest gas prices in the nation, Steward said.

Max's Amoco on Wednesday morning was charging a price of $2.89 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline.

Meanwhile, states on the East Coast and the South were dealing with rising prices and decreased demand resulting from Friday's cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline by a gang of computer hackers known as "Darkside."

The shutdown of that pipeline will have implications on gasoline supply and prices, but the impact will vary regionally, Steward said.

"Areas including Mississippi, Tennessee and the East Coast from Georgia into Delaware are most likely to experience limited fuel availability and price increases, as early as this week," he said. "These states may see prices increase 3 to 7 cents this week.”

Federal officials are asking people in the affected areas to remain calm and only buy what they need, adding that the pipeline will soon be back running at full capacity.

"We're working around the clock with our federal, state, local and industry partners to respond to the Colonial Pipeline cybersecurity incident," U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary Dave Turk said in a video posted Tuesday on Twitter.

Pipeline operations are expected to return to normal by the end of this week.