The price of gasoline in the U. S. edged up and hit a new all-time high, as falling capacity at refineries increase the costs of filling up.
The average price of a gallon of regular gas rose to $4.43, according to AAA. That’s up from $4.08 a month ago and $3 in May of last year, with spiking energy costs contributing to the fiercest bout of inflation around the country in 40 years. Premium gas now averages $5.07, up from $3.62 a year ago, while diesel over that period has jumped from $3.15 to $5.56 a gallon.
Gas now tops $4 per gallon in nearly every U. S. state, with the biggest jump in fuel prices this week in Michigan, New Jersey, Connecticut, Kentucky and Indiana, according to AAA. The priciest states for gas are in the West: California ($5.87 per gallon), Hawaii ($5.31), Alaska ($4.81), Nevada ($5.13) and Oregon ($4.90).
The cheapest are Georgia ($3.95), Kansas ($3.98) and Oklahoma ($3.99).
The price of crude oil — by far the biggest factor affecting the price of gas — has moved up and down this week. Brent crude, the international standard, rose Friday to $110.71 per barrel, according to FactSet. West Texas Intermediate, the U. S. benchmark, climbed to $109.54.
A drop in oil refinery capacity is also pushing up prices. Refineries turn crude oil into gas and other products; since 2019, refinery capacity in the U. S. has shrunk by about 1 million barrels per day.
“Why can oil move down but wholesale gas prices move up? Because they’re different. They may be similar, but refining is the kink in the hose, and we’re down 1 [million barrels per day] refining capacity vs early 2019,” Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said on Twitter this week.
At the same time, inventories of gasoline in the U. S. have fallen to a 14-week low, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. A ban on oil and gas imports from Russia, which sent some refined products to the U.S., is also contributing to the shortage.
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