With some cities breaching the $5 mark per gallon, you might’ve been wondering “Why are gas prices rising suddenly?”. Here’s the lowdown on the fuel spike in the country, and what it means for car owners.
Love may make the world go round, but for the many car owners in America, it’s precious fuel that makes their wheels go around! Unfortunately, gas seems to be becoming even dearer as the days go by. Prices have spiked across the country and cracked an all-time high of $5 per gallon in March 2022, with the trend likely to continue for a while. Car owners will definitely be ruing the added strain on their wallets – which begs the question: why are gas prices rising suddenly?
What are the current gas prices in the US?
The current prices are the highest in the country since 2008, according to the Automobile Association of America. As of March 3, the average price is $3.95/ gallon – an increase of more than 90 cents from last year’s average price of $3.01.
Why are gas prices rising suddenly?
While it’s easy to put the blame on global incidents (like the Russia-Ukraine War), there are more than just one single reason for the steady increase in gas prices over the past few months. Here are the main reasons for it.
- Geopolitical developments: The reason for the most recent spike is undeniably the Ukraine-Russia War that escalated on February 20. Russia is one of the largest suppliers of crude oil to the international market, and the sanctions imposed on the country by the US and European allies may result in an overall increase in prices. Unless the situation is defused quickly, oil exports to international markets may suffer, causing a further increase in gas prices.
However, that’s not to say that prices weren’t peaking even before the war, as we explain below.
- High demand due to post-pandemic surge: During the initial phase of the pandemic, there were fewer Americans on the road due to lockdown restrictions in many states. This caused a drop in gas prices due to a lack of adequate demand. However, things started to ease up in 2021 and more Americans resumed traveling by car, causing a quick depletion of oil reserves. The Federal Highway Administration reported an 80% increase in the number of vehicles plying on American roads, which further caused a spike in gas prices.
- Supply issues due to reduced drilling: The US would have enough reserves to tide through the situation – if it weren’t for unfortunate supply-side constraints on its side. The destructive Hurricane Ida pummelled most of the coast in August-September 2021, disrupting crude oil production and refining in the Gulf of Mexico. Even though production has resumed, it still hasn’t reached peak capacity and inventories are still running low.
How do gas prices affect the rest of the economy?
The rise in gas prices affects virtually every sector of the economy because it’s an essential part of transportation. Everything from the fruits and vegetables stocked at your local supermarket to essential services like fire and ambulance services runs smoothly because they have gas to move stuff around.
People work more efficiently because they don’t have to waste time walking from place to place and can instead quickly drive to their destination. Take away fuel from this efficient logistics system and you’ll see a domino effect that increases consumer prices throughout the whole supply chain.
The current spike in gas prices makes up for 30% of the inflation seen in US markets in 2022.
Which state has the highest gas prices?
Gas prices in California cracked the $5/gallon mark on March 3, making it the state with the most expensive fuel. Other states where gas prices breached new highs include Washington ($4.220), Oregon ($4.281 ), Nevada ($4.285), Hawaii ($4.180 ), and New York ($4.053).
How high will gas prices rise this year?
It’s possible that fuel prices will continue to increase in the current year unless global supply-demand issues are sorted out quickly. Market analysts have even warned that all Americans should get ready to accept a ‘new normal’ of $5/gallon on average in the coming year given the uncertain future.
What is the highest gas price ever reached in the US?
According to the American Automobile Association, the previous highest average gas price reached in the US was $4.11 in July 2008.
What can you do to reduce the impact of high gas prices on your wallet?
With gas prices high, you cannot afford to waste money on other car services like parking, car wash, insurance, and more. Every penny saved could be worth it in the end!
What if we told you you could save up to $1000 a year on car expenses, thereby taking the edge off the rising fuel prices? Sign up for the Way+ subscription – a bundled subscription plan that lets you save on everything car-related. It’s your best option to cut corners and save hundreds of dollars in affordable parking, insurance, refinance, and more.
Unless you’re Chuck Norris.
Check out our blogs for info on finding top-rated airport parking, the best parking spots in your city, and affordable car washes near you.