A year ago, it was hard to imagine the average price of a regular gallon of gasoline could hit $5. In most of the country, it has, and in a number of states the prices have jumped higher than $5. The price has added to the consumer’s inflation burden, and by itself, it threatens a crippling of consumer spending.
It is not news that the primary cause of the gas price increase is the surge in crude oil prices. Last August, it sold for $64 a barrel. Today, that price has risen to $120. Several experts have made the case that it will be $150 by Labor Day. The trouble with supply, caused in large part by the embargo of Russian oil because of its invasion of Ukraine, is an all but permanent problem. Global oil giants will take months or longer to ramp production, and some may not consider it a benefit to shareholders.
One wild card is refiners. How quickly will they move to the production of more gasoline? The process will be slow, and once again these companies need to decide if it is in their best financial interests.
According to the AAA Fuel Gauge, gas prices are just below $5 nationwide for the average gallon of regular. That is up from $3.06 a year ago.
GasBuddy tracks data on the price of regular by state. In 16 states and the District of Columbia, it is above $5. In California, it is $6.36. A contributing factor is that gas taxes in many of these states are high, thought that number has been fixed in most states for years.
The states have at least one thing in common. They are far from the large refineries on the Gulf of Mexico and south of Houston. This means transportation costs of the gas are high. The list is dominated by Midwestern (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan), northeastern (Maine and Massachusetts) and northwestern states (Idaho, Oregon and Washington).
These are the states where gas is above $5 a gallon:
- Massachusetts (5.006)
- Idaho (5.015)
- New Jersey (5.023)
- Maine (5.027)
- Pennsylvania (5.035)
- Ohio (5.076)
- District of Columbia (5.106)
- Arizona (5.166)
- Michigan (5.217)
- Indiana (5.250)
- Hawaii (5.404)
- Washington (5.449)
- Oregon (5.451)
- Alaska (5.490)
- Nevada (5.548)
- Illinois (5.609)
- California (6.363)
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