Gas prices in the U.S. hit a nationwide average of $5 per gallon for the first time ever, according to automotive club AAA on Monday.
AAA, which has been compiling gas price data for the past 22 years, said the national average rose to an all-time high of $5.01 on Monday, marking a 19-cent increase from last week. The previous record-high was $4.11 in 2008.
At this time last year, the average price of gas was $1.93.
AAA’s data showed that the 10 most expensive states for gas are California ($6.43), Nevada ($5.65), Alaska ($5.56), Illinois ($5.56), Washington ($5.54), Oregon ($5.53), Hawaii ($5.53), Arizona ($5.31), Washington, D.C. ($5.26) and Indiana ($5.05).
Despite the high prices, AAA said driving habits haven’t changed so far, but could be impacted if prices remain above $5. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed gasoline demand grew last week in a pattern consistent with summertime driving.
“This dynamic between decreased supply and increased demand is contributing to rising prices at the pump. Coupled with increasing crude oil prices, this means that the price of gas will likely remain elevated for the near future,” AAA said.
AAA said the states with the largest increases in gas prices over the past week were West Virginia (+28 cents), Montana (+27 cents), Colorado (+25 cents), Kansas (+23 cents), Virginia (+23 cents), Missouri (+22 cents), North Dakota (+22 cents), Indiana (+22 cents), Ohio (+22 cents) and New Mexico (+21 cents).
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said on Monday, “For the first time ever, last week saw the national average reaching the $5 per gallon mark as nearly every one of the nation’s 50 states saw prices jump. For now, the upward momentum may slow down, but we are still just one potential jolt to supply away from heading even higher.”
Gas prices aren’t just affecting consumer wallets; it’s also impacting services provided to consumers.
A sheriff’s office in Michigan is limiting the number of in-person responses to 911 calls because high gas prices have caused the department to exhaust its fuel budget earlier than anticipated.
A gas station owner in Massachusetts decided for the first time in 48 years of business to not replenish his gas supply and sell gas, saying he no longer wanted to participate in what he considered to be oil companies taking advantage of consumers, as Daily Hampshire Gazette reported last week.
Julie King, operations media manager for ExxonMobil Corp., told Daily Hampshire Gazette that “Prices at the pump are influenced by the price of crude, and wholesale price of products which fluctuate according to demand and supply factors — such as economic conditions and seasonal factors, fuel production, inventory levels, storage and transportation cost.”
President Joe Biden has repeatedly blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine more than three months ago as the cause of high gas prices and inflation in the U.S.
“I understand Americans are anxious, and they’re anxious with good reason,” Biden said on Friday. “We’ve never seen anything like Putin’s tax on both food and gas.”
“I’m doing everything in my power to blunt Putin’s price hike and bring down the cost of gas and food,” he added.