Motorists are facing a new — and unwelcome — milestone: The price of gasoline is now at least $4 per gallon in every U.S. state, a first for the nation, according to AAA.
The average per-gallon price reached a new record of $4.52 on Tuesday, the automobile group said.
Drivers in California are facing the biggest hit, with prices in the Golden State reaching a new record of $6.02 per gallon, AAA said. The surge in gas prices is contributing to the highest inflation in four decades, and taking a bite out of consumers' wallets.
Because consumers are spending more on gas, they are cutting back on other consumer goods and services, JPMorgan said in a May 13 report.
The reason for the recent surge in gas prices is due to a couple of factors, AAA said.
First, crude oil prices "remain volatile," and pump prices are likely to continue to be high until crude drops below $105 per barrel. Currently, the benchmark Brent crude oil is trading at about $109 per barrel.
Second, gas stations are switching to their summer blends of gasoline, which AAA says adds as much as 10 cents per gallon to motorists' costs. The switch to the blend occurs annually, and is unrelated to the Biden Administration's plan toe to be sold through the summer. That blend, which is 15% ethanol, is usually banned for purchase from June 1 to September 15.
Until Monday, there were three states where gas could still be found at an average price of below $4 a gallon: Georgia, Kansas and Oklahoma. But with the jump in prices on Tuesday, those states joined the $4-per-gallon club, with prices hitting $4.06 in Georgia; $4 in Kansas; and $4.01 in Oklahoma.
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