AAA data shows the price of regular gasoline across the U.S. averaged $4.065 on Monday — and that figure is expected to soon reach the highest level in 2008.
The gas is well below the highest ever recorded average price, which was set at $4.10 a gallon on July 17, 2008.
According to AAA, on Monday, California had the highest average price per gallon in the US states at $5.34, while Missouri had the lowest at $3.627. Twenty US states and Washington, DC were all charging more than $4 per gallon for regular gas.
Current prices are expected to climb amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine and related supply disruptions at a time when demand for road travel and gas spikes in warmer climates. Experts predict that the US will break the national average record this week.
“An increase in gas demand and a decrease in aggregate supply contribute to the increase in pump prices,” the AAA said. “But, an increase in oil prices plays a major role in pushing gas prices higher. Consumers can expect the current trend at the pump to continue as long as crude oil prices continue to climb.”
FILE IMAGE – A car is seen filling up at a gas pump at a Mobil station on March 6, 2022 in Danville, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Paul Weaver / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images)
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum and analysis at fuel-saving app GasBuddy, said Monday that the national average jumped 48.3 cents a gallon over the past week. It is also likely that the national average will reach its all-time highest, seven-day average, recorded in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina (a 49 cents per gallon increase).
“It has been absolutely staggering to reach the pace of growth,” said De Haan. But he said such a spike was “not surprising at all” given the recent surge in oil prices and Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The US has yet to approve Russian oil, but some big oil traders have done so on their own and have reduced their purchases. Russia produces about 10% of the global supply, De Haan said.
“Russia is getting desperate, issuing huge discounts on its oil to attract buyers,” De Haan said. “Russia is a significant producer … and with the sudden loss of Russian oil, the balance has been tipped substantially in a way that we have never fully seen before.”
Meanwhile, US lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle are mounting pressure on the Biden administration to impose sanctions on all Russian oil and gas imports, but the administration is hesitant to do so – pushing gas prices even bigger for Americans. Afraid to grow.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that the US is now considering imposing sanctions on Russian oil, but that it would be “in coordination” with European and NATO allies, according to Fox Business.
“The actions we have taken so far have had a devastating effect on the Russian economy,” Blinken said on NBC. “We have seen the ruble in free fall. We see the economy heading into a deep recession. We have already made a big impact, but we are again seeing, as we speak, this Possibility of imposing sanctions on oil imports in coordination with allies and partners.
De Haan said there are simple things drivers can do to make an impact and maximize fuel economy, such as driving conservatively on the highway and avoiding rapid acceleration.
“This is when Americans need to unite to cut our fuel consumption,” he said.
This story was reported from Cincinnati.