The national average was $ 4.07 when the current price hike began on April 15. The current price of OPIS represents a 23% increase in two months.
Although the $ 5 national average is new, $ 5 gas has become undesirablely common in most parts of the country.
Data from OPIS, which collects measurements from 130,000 US gas stations used to compile AAA averages, shows that almost 32% of stations nationwide charge more than $ 5 per gallon of measurements on Friday. And about 10% of stations across the country charge more than $ 5.75 a gallon.
The statewide average was $ 5 or more per gallon in 21 states and Washington DC on Saturday reading.
$ 6 gas may be next
According to Tom Closa, global head of energy analysis at OPIS, the U.S. national average for petrol will be close to $ 6 later this summer.
“Nothing will happen from June 20 until Labor Day,” Closa said earlier this week about the need for gas, as people hit the road for long-awaited trips. “Come to hell or higher gas prices, people are going on vacation.”
The highs state average has long been in California, where it averaged $ 6.43 a gallon on Saturday’s readings. But not only in California or other more expensive states, the pain of high prices is felt across the country.
Cheap gas is hard to find
That’s because the cheapest price is not so cheap – the average price in Georgia is $ 4.47 per gallon, giving the statewide cheapest average. Fewer than 300 of the 130,000 gas stations across the country charged OPIS $ 4.25 or less per gallon on Friday reading. For comparison purposes, the national average for gas before the price increase earlier this year was $ 4.11, set in July 2008.
There are some early signs that people are starting to reduce their driving by rising prices, but it is still a small decline.
The number of gallons pumped into stations in the last week of May is down about 5% from the same week a year ago, even as gas prices have risen more than 50%, according to OPIS. According to mobility research firm Inrix, the number of trips to the U.S. by car has fallen by about 5% since the beginning of May, although those trips have increased by another 5% since the beginning of the year.
The main concern is that consumers will cut back on other costs of driving, which could push the economy into recession, which is already showing signs of weakness.
Many reasons for the record price
Beyond the strong demand for petrol, there is also the supply problem that raises the prices of both oil and petrol. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions on Russia in the United States and Europe have been a major factor because Russia is one of the world’s leading oil exporters. But that is only part of the reason.
U.S. oil production and refining capacity have not fully returned to pre-epidemic levels. As prices continue to rise in Europe, some U.S. and Canadian refineries generally supply gas to the U.S. market, which exports gasoline to Europe.
– Matt Egan and Michelle Watson of CNN contributed to this report.