The nationwide average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline reached a record $4.99 on Friday, according to AAA travel agency, as Americans cope with economic uncertainty brought by soaring inflation. Diesel prices also hit a new high on Friday at $5.75 a gallon, marking 10 straight days of record fuel costs.
The record gas prices on the edge of $5 per gallon come the same day the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its report on rising prices in May, which showed inflation accelerating a full one percent last month. Prices on the all-items index are now 8.6 percent higher than at this point last year, according to the Department of Labor, with many basic necessities even higher. Overall energy prices are now up more than 34 percent from 12 months ago.
The Biden administration, however, appears to be throwing in the towel on rising gas prices, with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on CNN this week claiming, “The reality is that there isn’t much more to be done.”
In April, President Biden ordered the “unprecedented” release of 1 million barrels of oil from the nation’s emergency reserves daily for 180 days to artificially suppress rising gas prices. The bulk of the release began on May 15, but Americans have still suffered near-daily gas price records ever since. Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior canceled more oil and gas projects from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico. The agency hampered production further by announcing a cascade of taxes and regulations when it resumed federal land leases to comply with a court order.
The rising prices are powering a decline in consumer confidence, with a new survey from the University of Michigan out Friday revealing a record low. Hours before the Bureau of Labor Statistics published its report on soaring inflation, House Democrats sought to redirect national focus from its economic turmoil with a prime-time hearing on Jan. 6.