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Published: May 10, 2022 4 min read
Graphic photo collage illustration of man fighting a gasoline pump
Money; Getty Images

A gallon of gas now costs a record-high $4.37 on average in the United States. And that record probably won't stand for long: With the summer driving season right around the corner, experts expect prices will rise even further over the next few months.

The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. climbed roughly 5 cents overnight and are up 17 cents over last week, according to data from AAA. The latest bump in costs at the pump brings gas prices above their previous record of $4.33 per gallon in March.

“There’s little, if any, good news about fuel prices heading into summer,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at the gas price tracking app Gas Buddy, said in a Tuesday blog post.

That’s thanks to a sharp decline in global oil supply and an expected surge in demand as Americans gear up for summer vacations. De Haan added that hurricane season, which typically starts in June, could also mean higher prices if refinery operations are impacted by bad weather.

Some states are seeing gas that’s far more expensive than the national average. In California, a gallon of regular gas costs $5.84 on average. In Nevada, gas costs an average of $5.12.

In a Monday news release, AAA reported that Michigan and New Jersey saw the biggest increase in gas prices over the prior seven days, up 26 cents and 25 cents, respectively. Average gas prices also rose 19 cents apiece over the same week in Connecticut, Kentucky, Indiana and Rhode Island.

While the current prices are extremely high by historical standards, gas is not yet the most expensive they’ve ever been after accounting for inflation. Prices peaked at $4.11 in the summer of 2008, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In 2022 dollars, that’s about $5.38.

Why are gas prices rising again?

The price increases are largely being driven by rising crude oil prices in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

Drivers saw some relief in April, when prices fell slightly from their record-setting highs in March, as the price of crude oil fell from $120 per barrel to less than $100 per barrel. But now, crude oil prices are ticking up again and approaching $110 per barrel.

“With the cost of oil accounting for more than half of the pump price, more expensive oil means more expensive gasoline,” Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, said Monday.

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