Gas prices spiked this week to historic new highs, with the average hitting more than $5 per gallon in San Francisco.
While some gas stations have already been charging well over $5 a gallon, this is the first time any U.S. city has reached an average higher than $5, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, tweeted on Thursday.
According to AAA data, the average price of a regular gallon of gas in the San Francisco area is $5.05 — the highest recorded average ever in the city. The Los Angeles area is also experiencing prices above $5 per gallon, according to AAA, along with some other California cities, including Napa, San Luis Obispo, San Rafael and Santa Rosa.
Nationally, the average price of a gallon of gas is $3.73, according to AAA data, an increase of nearly 20 cents in one week and roughly $1 higher than last year at this time. AAA noted on Thursday that of all the states, prices rose the most over the past week in Michigan, which has seen a 39-cent spike in the average price of a gallon of gas, and Indiana, where the average increased by 36 cents.
While gasoline prices have been rising for months thanks to persistent inflation, supply chain snags and heightened demand, the war in Ukraine is adding a new layer of pressure. Russia is a major global oil supplier, and a series of increasingly severe sanctions imposed by the United States and other countries have disrupted the global oil market and pushed prices north of $110 per barrel. Gas prices are closely tied to crude oil prices, meaning that any spikes in that market get passed along to consumers at the pump.
President Biden has repeatedly assured Americans that his administration is taking steps to protect consumers from soaring gas prices, but experts say there’s only so much he can do.
“Like the U.S. stock market, the oil market responds poorly to volatility,” AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross said in a recent statement. “It’s an explosive situation, and a grim reminder that events on the far side of the globe can have a ripple effect for American consumers.”
And of course, those supply chain and inflationary pressures still exist, not to mention the fact that gas prices also tend to rise in the warmer months.
Given all that, it’s a good bet that $5 gas won’t be limited to just California for much longer.