As gasoline prices move to a level not posted in three years and continue to rise, the price of an average gallon of regular is above $3 in six states and close to that in three others. If oil prices continue to rise, that state count will spike by Labor Day.
The AAA Fuel Gauge puts the price of an average gallon of regular nationwide at $2.17, compared to the year-ago price of $2.14. Coincidentally, oil prices have risen from $54 to $66 a barrel during that period. Due to trouble in Syria and other instability in the Middle East, prices may reach $70 soon.
The price of an average gallon of regular in California is $3.55. It is the largest state by far based on population, so the number has an outsized effect. The state has 38 million residents, compared to the U.S. total of 316 million.
The price in Hawaii is $3.48. In Washington, it is $3.21. In Alaska, $3.17 is the price, while in both Oregon and Nevada it is $3.12. The price in Idaho is $2.98, in Utah $2.92 and in Pennsylvania $2.91.
Recently, CNBC listed reasons oil may reach $80 a barrel. According to the news service:
Saturday’s U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria are likely to draw only a muted response in oil markets.
Instead, it will be how Syrian President Bashar Assad’s Iranian and Russian allies react, and whether the White House pulls out of the Iran nuclear deal and re-imposes sanctions on the OPEC producer that will determine any move toward $80.
It is a short list, but a complicated one.
No one can tell for certain what a sharp rise in gas prices will do to the economy, particularly to consumers who live in households that rely on heating oil and on gasoline for travel. If gas goes above $3 a gallon, some these will lose some the consumer spending power, and it probably will chip away at gross domestic product.
A gas price of $3 has been a psychological barrier as much as anything else, at least for consumers. And, as summer driving heats up along with demand, that barrier may be crossed soon.