According to AAA, the national average price for regular gasoline climbed more than four cents on Tuesday to $4.61 a gallon, climbing more than 25 cents in six weeks.
The number is more than 50% higher than the average cost per gallon a year ago. It comes as gas prices have continued to climb during Joe Biden’s presidency and as millions of Americans are poised to travel by road for Memorial Day weekend.
This week’s surge will only add to inflationary pressures that have boosted fears of a national recession, hammered financial markets, and caused Americans’ views on the economy to become fearful.
Gas prices had dropped as low as $4.07 a gallon in April after President Biden ordered the release of oil from emergency reserves and as oil prices cooled off. However, as some industry analysts predicted, that relief proved to be short-lived.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, gas prices, adjusted for inflation, would have to rise above $5.30 a gallon to break the records set in 2008.
Experts say that number will likely surpass the $6 mark by the summer as costs in cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco already met that mark earlier this month.
Diesel prices are up as well. Prices at the pump have soared a whopping 75% from Memorial Day last year. Current prices rest at around $5.50 a gallon, a record price for the fuel.
According to AAA, the national average of diesel fuel in the U.S. surpassed $5.56 a gallon this month, the highest level ever recorded.
Diesel is considered the “lifeblood of the global economy” and is vital for multiple production sectors, including construction, mining, and agriculture.
In the U.S., the transportation industry alone utilizes more than 122 million gallons of diesel per day, according to data from 2020.
The national stockpile of distillate fuel oil, including diesel and fuel oil, has dropped to about 104 million barrels.
According to a May 11 report from the Energy Information Administration, this is the lowest recorded level since May 2005.
The increased cost of shipping and supply chain operations will impact consumer prices ongoing until some relief is felt at the pump.
No doubt, from the average driver, to the average consumer, the cost of fuel is driving a significant component of the nation’s surge in inflation.
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