The average gas price is above $4 in every state. How long will they continue to rise?




  • In Business
  • 2022-05-17 20:37:02Z
  • By USA TODAY

The average U.S. gas price continues to reach record highs, with every state averaging at least $4 a gallon, and experts say it will continue to climb.

The average for a gallon of gas is $4.52, according to AAA, a 15 cent jump from last week and 35 cent increase from when the national record was broken in March. Diesel prices also jumped a cent from Thursday to $5.57.

Although the national average has been above $4 since February, some Midwest states where gas is the cheapest, have remained below the benchmark until Tuesday. The cheapest state to get gas is currently Kansas, where the average is now $4. Following Kansas are Oklahoma ($4.01), Georgia ($4.06), Missouri (4.07) and Arkansas ($4.08).

While the national record has been broken, it has yet to beat the 2008 record when adjusted for inflation, which would be well over $5 today.

But experts believe that mark could be eventually be surpassed, and the high cost at the pump will remain.

"We have to accept that the gas prices are probably going to be high for a long time," Leo Waldenback, co-founder of the online driver's education program Zutobi, told USA TODAY. "It's definitely an extremely unique situation."

A sign displays gas prices at a gas station on May 10, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.
A sign displays gas prices at a gas station on May 10, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.  

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Why are gas prices so high?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine was the main contributing factor when gas prices reached all-time records in March, and Waldenback said it still is playing a role today as embargoes on Russian oil remain in place.

As a result, the cost of oil worldwide continues to be over $100. U.S. crude oil costs $114.07 per barrel, while Brent crude, the international standard, costs $114.86 as of Tuesday, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Matt Smith, an analyst with data analytics firm Kpler, told USA TODAY last week "gasoline prices will remain high as long as oil prices remain in the triple digits."

Another factor is the transition into summer months, when demand for gas due to traveling is heightened. AAA said on Monday the switch to the summer blend of gas is already underway, which typically adds seven to 10 cents per gallon.

"Even the annual seasonal demand dip for gasoline during the lull between spring break and Memorial Day, which would normally help lower prices, is having no effect this year," said AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross.

How long will gas prices be so high?

Waldenback said there is no ceiling, but it's certainly possible for the national average to go above $5 at some point this year.

"If we're saying the situation is like it is now, then I still think we're going to see fairly high prices for possibly the entire year and possibly longer," he said.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said on Monday demand and available inventory of gasoline will also dictate future prices. De Haan also said last week the upcoming hurricane season could hurt oil refinery capacity.

"Prices later this week could be closer to $5 per gallon than $4, as demand continues to edge higher and inventories of both gasoline and diesel continue to decline, temperatures warm and motorists get back outside and we near the Memorial Day weekend, the start of the summer driving season," De Haan said. "There isn't much reason to be optimistic that we'll see a plunge any time soon."

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When will gas prices go down?

Waldenback said what will help an eventual drop in gas prices is the response from the Biden Administration and other world leaders in their ability to produce oil on their own and meet market demand.

"It depends on how quickly we're able to ramp up the production of gas and oil in other places and in other parts of the world, but that's going to take a lot a long time. I think we have to accept that the gas prices are probably going to be high for a long time," he said.

Where is gas the most expensive in the U.S.?

California continues to have the most expensive gas in the country as of Wednesday, according to AAA, being the only state above $6 at $6.02. In total, there are six states averaging at least $5.

Here are the highest regular gas prices per gallon in the U.S.:

  • California: $6.02

  • Hawaii: $5.33

  • Nevada: $5.19

  • Washington: $5.09

  • Oregon: $5.06

  • Alaska: $5.00

  • Washington, D.C.: $4.86

  • Illinois: $4.84

  • Arizona: $4.81

  • New York: $4.80

Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Gas prices continue to break records. How high will the cost go?

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