Shari Smith almost skipped a friend’s funeral on Friday because high gas prices made her reluctant to take a 120-mile round trip to show respect.
“I’ve never had to pay that much for gas, and that’s with my Cub rebate,” said Smith, 72, retired at a Holiday gas station in St. Louis Park, where she used a rewards card that saved her a 20-cent rebate. . on gasoline for $ 4.49 per gallon. “I think they are ridiculous.”
Gas reached a new high in Minnesota on Friday, reaching $ 4.50 per gallon after an overnight jump of an average of 11 cents per gallon, according to AAA. It was just the latest peak, with the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas at $ 4.39 on Thursday and $ 4.23 a week earlier, according to the car club̵[ads1]7;s survey of gas stations.
With food prices also on the rise and inflation across large parts of the retail economy, Smith said she is stepping down some regular summer activities – a trip to Duluth, and regular trips to Stanchfield, Minn., About an hour north, where she volunteered.
“I have tried to be very clever when I go shopping for groceries to make sure we have everything on the list, so I do not have to take so many trips,” Smith said. She decided to make an exception for the funeral.
Michael Donahue, who also refills at the Holiday station, said he has been following the price of petrol closely. Lately, he said, it has “shot up”. He estimates he pays around $ 15 more for gas per refill than before, and with summer trips nearby, Donahue has been looking for things to cut from the budget.
“Just grocery bills alone, like a little one- or two-bag run, are expensive now just to get the essentials like some meat, cheese and bread,” he said.
Two factors led to the sharp increase, said Patrick De Haan, an analyst at gas price tracking website Gasbuddy. Inventories at refineries in the Great Lakes and Midwest fell to near record lows with production down around 1 million barrels per day since 2019, a fall of around 5%, he said.
In the meantime, the summer travel season is in full swing.
“Demand [for gas] is up and the supply is not, “said De Haan.” No one is sitting around and refineries are struggling to keep up. “
The war in Ukraine is also pushing up prices. Crude oil moved above $ 115 a barrel this week due to fears of further global supply constraints caused by an EU ban on Russian oil exports.
Nationally, the average price of a gallon of gas reached $ 4.76 on Thursday. A year ago, the price was $ 3.04.
Stations in Hennepin and Ramsey counties had the lowest average prices in the metro area on Friday, with Anoka having the highest at $ 4.56 per gallon, according to AAA.
Drivers in northwestern Minnesota paid the lowest prices on average. Big Stone County on the border with South Dakota had the cheapest gas, averaging $ 4.29 per gallon, while drivers in the southern Minnesota state of Watonwan paid the highest with an average of $ 4.62, according to AAA.
On Wednesday, Minnesota reached a state average of $ 4.33 per gallon, exceeding the previous average high of $ 4.27 in May 2013. These figures do not take inflation into account.
It’s not clear how high prices will go, but $ 5 per gallon is a strong option, De Haan said, especially if something like a hurricane beats refineries offline.
“As long as demand continues to grow and supply remains tight, pump prices are likely to remain high,” said Meredith Mitts, of AAA Minnesota-Iowa.
High gas prices have not deterred drivers yet, as the pent-up urge to travel caused by the pandemic outweighs high pump prices, said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesman. But a AAA survey found that 67% of drivers said they would change their driving habits if the gas reached $ 4.50 per gallon.
Julia Monzon, who recently moved to Minneapolis from Spain, said she was happy that the gas prices she saw were lower than in her home country. But the gas cost about $ 2.80 per gallon when she moved here, she remembered, and surprised her at how cheap it was.
Now she is using an app to reduce the price.
“Gas prices are just getting so high now,” Monzon said.