What Was the Highest Gas Price in US History?

blue car refueling at gas station at summer day, close-up.
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Forget road trips, just driving to the office is getting pretty steep. Gas prices have been the point of contention for auto owners around the world, but here in the United States, they have felt particularly spicy as of late. No matter which state you live in, you no doubt have felt the sting. 

Read: What To Do if You Owe Back Taxes to the IRS

A History of High Gas Prices: Quick Take

Older drivers will remember a time when $5-a-gallon, like you may currently find at some pumps around the country, sounded like the stuff of science fiction. However, if you have been to a gas station lately you know the prices are going up and up, almost to the point where driving may or may not be an option financially in the near future. Here are some key takeaways from the timeline of soaring gas prices:

  • American drivers had it rough back in 1981 as the average price of gasoline spiked to $1.35 a gallon that year — up from $1.22 in 1980. This was more than double the price just three years earlier.
  • Adjusted for inflation, the average price of gas in 1981 would have equaled $2.42 a gallon in 2020.
  • The average national price for a full year didn’t even push about $2 a gallon until 2005, according to the U.S. Inflation Calculator website. 
  • Before 2021, the yearly average exceeded $3 a gallon only five times: in 2008 and from 2011 to 2014.
  • At the time due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict — especially as the EU, whose consumption of Russian oil was around 40% of overall use, announced a speed-up in the transition to alternative sources and fuels. As GOBankingRates previously reported, U.S. gas prices rose more than 45 cents per gallon since the onset of the conflict.
  • Prior to 2021, the yearly average exceeded $3 a gallon only five times: in 2008 and from 2011 to 2014.
  • In August 2023, the average per gallon was $3.83, according to AAA.
  • As of Nov. 3, 2023, the current average gas price is $3.44 per gallon in the United States.

Highest Gas Prices in the US

Gas prices have reached their all-time high in recent history. Last year the average peaked on June 14, 2022, at $5.02 per gallon. Luckily, although they still remain high, they have slightly dipped in the past year. 

Average US Gas Prices in Each State

Those gas prices will range from day to day and state to state, it can be a good indicator of where gas prices are in real-time when you zoom out and look at the entire map as a whole. Saving money at the pump isn’t the easiest task to complete today but you can at least see where your state stacks up in comparison. 

Average Prices Per Gallon for Regular Gas Per State

State Price Per Gallon
Alabama $3.02
Alaska $4.20
Arizona $3.89
Arkansas $3.04
California $5.18
Colorado $3.48
Connecticut  $3.54
Deleware $3.10
Florida $3.21
Georgia $2.92
Hawaii $4.75
Idaho $3.86
Illinois $3.54
Indiana $3.28
Iowa $3.15
Kansas $3.24
Kentucky $3.10
Lousiana $3.00
Maine $3.52
Maryland $3.31
Massachusets  $3.53
Michigan $3.39
Minnesota $3.32
Mississippi $2.93
Missouri  $3.11
Montana $3.67
Nebraska $3.34
Nevada $4.51
New Hampshire $3.42
New Jersey $3.37
New Mexico $3.33
New York $3.72
North Carolina $3.14
North Dakota $3.50
Ohio $3.14
Oklahoma $3.08
Oregon  $4.29
Pennsylvania $3.67
Rhode Island $3.47
South Carolina $3.01
South Dakota $3.44
Tennessee $3.05
Texas  $2.92
Utah $3.68
Vermont $3.61
Virginia $3.24
Washington $4.63
West Virginia $3.30
Wisconsin $3.15
Wyoming $3.55
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Final Take To GO

The highest gas prices in U.S. history may have occurred in 2022, but the future of what you will pay at the pump remains ominous for the rest of 2023 and for the next several years. Hopefully, they will regulate back down, but if not it will be interesting to see what everyone comes up with for alternative transportation.

Data is accurate as of Nov. 3, 2023, and is subject to change.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.


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