U.S. gas prices have returned close to record highs, shaking drivers

U.S. drivers preparing to travel in warm weather this week will face new record high gas prices as inflation continues to devastate household budgets.

The average national price of a gallon of gas was $ 4,328 as of Monday afternoon, according to AAA data. That price rose about 20 cents from a month ago and more than a dollar higher than on the same day a year ago.

The cost of gas is only a fraction of the all-time highs set in March, when the national average reached an unprecedented $ 4,331 as the Russian invasion of Ukraine caused a disruption in global energy supplies.

In New York, gas prices have already reached a new record. The price of ordinary gas across the state was $ 4,518 – almost 30 cents more than a month ago – while diesel reached an absurd $ 6,383.

“Increased gas demand and rising oil prices have pushed pump prices up. Pump prices are likely to face upward pressure as oil prices remain above $ 105 a barrel, ”AAA said in a blog post detailing the rise in prices.

Oil prices hovered close to $ 110 a barrel last week as the European Union weighed in on a possible ban on Russian energy supplies in response to the war in Ukraine. A possible embargo has further reversed an energy market that has already struggled with supply problems and disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

gas prices
Costs of goods and services rose last year.
AFP via Getty Images

U.S. crude prices eased slightly on Monday, sinking nearly 7% to $ 102 a barrel during a sharp sell-off on Wall Street and concerns over a renewed COVID-19 blockade in China.

The Ministry of Labor’s latest Consumer Price Index from March showed the extent to which gas prices contribute to inflation.

The consumer price index rose 8.5% in March, the highest annual rate since 1981. Gas prices rose 18.3% in the same month – an increase that accounted for more than half of the monthly rise in inflation.

The Biden administration sought to ease the pressure on American drivers by releasing tens of millions of barrels of oil from strategic reserves – but the measure had little lasting impact on prices.

Prices are likely to continue to rise in the coming days.

“While gasoline-filled drivers have seen a slight rise in prices, the rise in diesel will be a double blow as diesel prices will soon shift to retail channels, further increasing the price of goods,” said GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan.

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