Gas prices reached a new high of $4.62 per gallon on Tuesday, according to AAA’s gas tracker, one day after what’s traditionally the peak on Memorial Day. The price for diesel remains high at an average of $5.52 per gallon, just six cents lower than its latest record set in mid-May at $5.58.
California residents remain saddled with the highest prices in the nation, paying an average of $6.16 per gallon. No other state is facing an average at or above $6 per gallon yet, though analysts at JPMorgan Chase predict the national average could be $6.20 by August. The state with the second-highest gas prices is Hawaii at an average of $5.44 per gallon. Kansas residents are paying the lowest at $4.13 per gallon.
“[When] it comes to the gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition,” President Joe Biden said in Japan last week amid daily record highs. “When it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels.”
Americans’ pain at the pump is only compounded by runaway inflation, which is rising at its fastest pace in four decades, according to Department of Labor data. Meanwhile, high prices for diesel translate into higher prices across the economy as tankers, trains, trucks, and farming machinery rely on that fuel to manufacture and transport goods.
While the Biden administration promotes electric vehicles as a way to circumvent gas prices, the average electric vehicle costs $5,000 more than an entry-level luxury car, according to Kelley Blue Book in December. Thus gas prices continue to hamper economic growth as the nation slides toward recession. U.S. GDP declined at an annualized rate of 1.4 percent in the first quarter.
To suppress gas prices, Biden ordered the “unprecedented” release of 1 million barrels of oil per day for 180 days instead of unleashing the nation’s domestic energy potential by ramping up production. The release began on May 15 and coincided with more than two weeks of record daily consecutive gas prices leading up to the holiday weekend.
The United States uses nearly 20 million barrels of oil per day, according to the Energy Information Administration.