Gas prices reached a national average of $4.76 per gallon Friday in another five-cent leap to cap off a week of soaring pressure at the pump in a post-holiday surge with new records set daily.
Prices for regular unleaded were $4.62 on Tuesday, according to AAA travel agency’s gas tracker, rising rapidly beyond the traditional Memorial Day peak. Prices for diesel also eclipsed their prior record set in May, averaging $5.58 per gallon Friday.
“[When] it comes to the gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place,” President Joe Biden said in Japan last week. “When it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels.”
Beyond sticker shock when filling up, Americans are paying for higher fuel costs by way of higher prices for goods and groceries that are now more expensive to produce and ship. According to the latest data from the Department of Labor, overall prices are up 8.3 percent from last year, the fastest pace in 40 years. Energy is up more than 30 percent. Analysts at JPMorgan Chase predict Americans could face an average $6.20 per gallon by August. Residents in California already surpassed the average $6.20 per gallon to fill up this week.
Despite the added stress on American consumers, who hold the lowest confidence in the nation’s economy since 2009, as Gallup revealed Tuesday, President Biden has only escalated his administration’s war on domestic energy production with new restrictions. Last month, CBS News reported the Interior Department canceled oil and gas projects from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico. Biden’s resumption of oil and gas leases on federal land announced in April to comply with a court order also comes with a new cascade of taxes and regulations, including a 50 percent spike in royalty fees from what’s extracted.
In a feeble attempt to keep gas prices down ahead of the fall midterms, the president harnessed the nation’s emergency oil reserves with an “unprecedented” release of 1 million barrels of oil per day for 180 days. The rollout of the release, which began May 15, coincided with daily records in gas prices for more than a week. Past releases under this administration have also made no difference in controlling gas prices now up nearly 100 percent from the final month that President Donald Trump was in office.
According to the Department of Energy, Americans use about 20 million barrels of oil per day.