US gas prices top $5 in 13 states and counting

Surging gas prices have topped a whopping $5 per gallon in more than a quarter of the country and are expected to climb even higher as the summer travel season gets underway.

Price data from AAA on Tuesday showed that the statewide average of a gallon of gas eclipsed the $5 threshold in Maine, Massachusetts and New Jersey — bringing the total to 13 states.

Those three joined a list that already included Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana.

Those in the Big Apple have already been forking over more the five bucks for a gallon of regular unleaded at many gas stations and the average for the rest of the state is perched at $4.940. The national average climbed more than five cents Monday to $4.919 per gallon.

“After a blistering week of gas prices jumping in nearly every town, city, state and area possible, more bad news is on the horizon. It now appears not if, but when, we’ll hit that psychologically critical $5 national average,” GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan said in a blog post earlier this week.

Several more states are on the verge of hitting $5 per gallon.
Helayne Seidman

“Gasoline inventories continue to decline even with demand softening due to high prices, a culmination of less refining capacity than we had prior to COVID and strong consumption, a situation that doesn’t look to improve drastically anytime soon,” De Haan added.

Last month, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase warned that gas prices could surpass $6 per gallon by the end of the summer.

The global energy market has struggled to keep pace with demand for months as countries reopen from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has further disrupted shipments and contributed to a recent surge in oil prices.

Gas price sign
California has the highest gas prices in the country.
Getty Images

The West Texas Intermediate Crude oil index, the US price benchmark, hit $120 per barrel as of Tuesday afternoon. Some experts expect oil to climb even higher in the days ahead, leading to further pain at the pump for American motorists.

Goldman Sachs expects Brent crude oil prices to hit an average of $140 per barrel between July and September, according to a note to clients obtained by CNN Business. They added that a “large spike in prices remains quite possible this summer.”

President Biden has largely blamed the surge in prices on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Limited efforts to lower gas prices, such as a release from the strategic oil reserve, have done little to fix the problem.

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