Gas prices just keep soaring. The national average price as of Tuesday is $4.92 — an all-time record and a major contributor to an inflation rate above 8%. Unfortunately, drivers aren’t likely to see relief anytime soon.
“After a blistering week of gas prices jumping in nearly every town, city, state and area possible, more bad news is on the horizon,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said in a blog post Monday. “It now appears not if, but when, we’ll hit that psychologically critical $5 national average.”
Further price increases will be driven in part by strong consumer demand — Americans are still driving despite high prices at the pump. “At some point, drivers may change their daily driving habits or lifestyle due to these high prices, but we are not there yet,” Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, said in a Monday news release. Limited capacity at oil refineries is also pushing up prices, as is the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Here are five alarming facts that show just how expensive gas is now.
Gas prices are up nearly $2 in a year.
At this point a year ago, the national average was $3.05 per gallon — or $1.87 less than it is now. Prices have risen nearly 62 cents over the past month and nearly 30 cents over the past week alone, according to AAA data.
Gas is averaging $5 or more in 13 states.
The list of states where average gas prices are $5 or higher consists of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.
Prices also exceed $5 per gallon in the District of Columbia.
Gas costs more than the U.S. minimum wage in some places.
A gallon of gas in Alpine County, California now costs an average of $7.80 — higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. A handful of stations in other California counties were also charging more than $7.25 per gas last week, according to a recent report from CBS News.
The typical household could spend $5,000 on gas this year.
A May analysis from Yardeni Research found that the typical American household was on track to send $4,800 on gas over the course of the year. That's $2,000 more than last year, and spending will only increase as prices continue to soar.
Some drivers are spending over 6% of their income on gas.
The average American driver is spending 2.57% of their monthly income on gasoline, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Census Bureau and AAA by FinanceBuzz. But in some places, that number is much higher. Alabama drivers now spend 6.4% of their monthly income on gas — the highest portion of any state. Mississippi drivers are spending 5.7% of their incomes filling up their gas tanks, and drivers in Wyoming are spending 5.5%.
But are gas prices really the highest they've ever been?
Even though gas prices are at the highest nominal level the U.S. has ever seen, gas isn't yet the most expensive it's ever been — after adjusting for inflation.
Prices averaged $4.11 per gallon back in the summer of 2008 — which is the equivalent of about $5.40 in today's dollars. At the speed prices are rising, however, it's not impossible that we'll cross that threshold this summer.