$5 a gallon for gas? Prices at the pump reach new high for nationwide average, AAA says
For the first time ever, the average gas price across the U.S. is $5 a gallon.
The national average gas price jumped 19 cents in the past week. And prices at the pump are up $1.93 from this time last year.
Saturday marked the first time the U.S. reached a $5 average for nationwide gas prices – but it's not highest record when inflation is taken into account. In July 2008, gas prices peaked at $4.11 a gallon, which would be equal to about $5.40 a gallon today.
Still, the whopping $5 average has shaken the country and contributed to the growing cost of living crisis, as Americans face the highest rate of inflation in 40 years.
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According to the AAA, the state reporting the highest gas prices on Saturday was California – with an average of $6.43 a gallon. The lowest state average is currently in Mississippi, with a price of $4.52 a gallon.
Experts note that global oil prices are rising largely because of the ongoing war in Ukraine. In the U.S., costs are also rising due to limits on refining capacity because of some shut downs during the pandemic and increased fuel demand overall – especially as many Americans traveled over Memorial Day weekend.
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After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the price of oil climbed in 2022's first quarter as countries that rely heavily on Russia for energy scrambled for alternative fuel sources amid uncertainty. The benchmark for global oil prices, Brent crude, averaged at $102.23 a barrel during the first quarter – 67% higher than during the same period last year, according to the Associated Press.
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In the months following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, prices at the pump continued to reach record highs in the U.S. On March 8th, AAA reported the nation's then record-high (not accounting for inflation) of $4.17 a gallon. By mid-May, the national average was $4.58, with gas prices above $4 in every state.
Contributing: The Associated Press