By Zachary Stieber
The average price of a gallon of gas nationwide has hit $5 a gallon for the first time in history.
The average price hit $5 on June 11, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), which tracks prices.
The average is as high as $6.43 in some states, including California, and as low as $4.46 in others, such as Alabama.
Gas Buddy, another tracker, says that the national average struck $5 on June 9.
Either way, the price has soared since President Joe Biden took office in January of 2021, and has risen by $2 a gallon since one year ago and about 20 cents from one week ago.
Devin Gladden, a spokesman for AAA, said the surging prices stem in part from demand outpacing supply as people typically drive more during the summer.
Gladden told The Epoch Times that prices will likely keep rising, especially if Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a coalition of oil producing countries, doesn’t ramp up production.
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, says the rise in prices also relates to the decline in refining capacity around the world, including in the United States, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and countries banning Russian oil amid the Russian-Ukraine war.
“It’s been one kink after another this year, and worst of all, demand doesn’t seem to be responding to the surge in gas prices, meaning there is a high probability that prices could go even higher in the weeks ahead,” de Haan said in a statement. “It’s a perfect storm of factors all aligning to create a rare environment of rapid price hikes. The situation could become even worse should there be any unexpected issues at the nation’s refineries or a major hurricane that impacts oil production or refineries this summer.”
Despite the sharp increase, there are no signs yet that drivers are driving less, according to Gladden. However, “if prices continue to rise, it certainly could lead to diminished demand as prices rise to the point where people just can no longer afford gas,” he said.
The rising gas prices were one of the largest contributors to a fresh spike in the inflation rate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. The costs for other goods, including food, have also risen sharply in recent months.
The Biden administration’s focus on restricting domestic production has also played a role in the price jumps, according to some experts.
Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, noted that on the campaign trial, Biden vowed to stop drilling on federal lands and “end fossil fuel.” Since he’s taken office, his administration has curbed oil drilling permits and promoted a fast transition to alternative forms of energy such as solar and wind.
“Biden promised to eliminate oil and natural gas, now families are paying the price for his anti-American energy agenda. Biden’s solution? Force Americans to drive less or buy an expensive electric vehicle,” McDaniel said in a statement. “Biden is out of touch and has no real solutions, no plan, and no sympathy for struggling families.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, both Biden appointees, this week pointed to an administration announcement that it is working on a rule that will help build a network of chargers for electric vehicles across the nation.
“To support the transition to electric vehicles, we must build a national charging network that makes finding a charge as easy as filling up at a gas station,” Buttigieg said in a statement.
Biden, speaking to a crowd at the Port of Los Angeles on Friday, blamed the price jumps on Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said his administration’s top economic priority is fighting inflation, and that officials have been acting by “lowering the cost of moving goods through the supply chain.”