The national average was $ 4.07 when the current price of price increases began on April 15. The current price reading from OPIS represents an increase of 23% in less than two months.
While a national average of $ 5 is new, $ 5 gas has become uncomfortably common in large parts of the country.
Data from OPIS, which collects readings from 130,000 U.S. gas stations used to compile AAA averages, showed that 32% of stations across the country, nearly one in three, already charged more than $ 5 per gallon in measurements Friday. And about 10% of stations across the country charge more than $ 5.75 per gallon.
The statewide average was $ 5 per gallon or more in 21 states plus Washington DC in Saturday’s reading.
$ 6 gas may be next
The US national average for gasoline could be close to $ 6 later this summer, according to Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for OPIS.
“Everything goes from June 20 to Labor Day,” Kloza said earlier this week about the demand for gas when people go on the road to long-awaited getaways. “Come to hell or high gas prices, people are going to take vacations.”
The highest state average has long been in California, where the average was $ 6.43 per gallon in Saturday’s polls. But the pain of higher prices is felt across the country, not just in California or other high-priced states.
Cheap gas is hard to find
This is partly because the cheapest price was not so cheap – the average price of $ 4.47 per gallon in Georgia gives it the cheapest average for the whole country. Less than 300 gas stations out of 130,000 nationwide paid $ 4.25 per gallon or less in Friday’s reading from OPIS. For the sake of comparison, before the price increase earlier this year, the record for the national average for gas had been $ 4.11, set in July 2008.
There are some early signs that people are starting to cut back on driving in the face of higher prices, but there is still a modest decline.
The number of liters pumped at stations in the last week of May was down approx. 5% from the same week a year ago, according to OPIS, although gas prices have risen more than 50% since then. The number of trips in the US by car has fallen around 5% since the beginning of May, according to the mobility research company Inrix, although these trips are still up by around 5% since the beginning of the year.
The biggest concern is that consumers will cut back on other expenses to keep driving, which could push an economy that is already showing signs of weakness into recession.
Many reasons for record prices
In addition to the strong demand for petrol, there is also a supply problem that drives up the price of both oil and petrol. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the sanctions against Russia imposed in the United States and Europe since then are an important factor, since Russia was among the world’s leading oil exporters. But that is only part of the reason.
US oil production and refining capacity have also not fully returned to pre-pandemic levels. And because prices are even higher in Europe, some US and Canadian refineries that would normally supply the US market with gasoline export to Europe.
– CNN’s Matt Egan and Michelle Watson contributed to this report.