As Gas Prices Break $4 Mark in All 50 States, California Sees $6 at the Pump

Conceptual photo showing inflation and economic impact at the gas pump with hundred dollar bills inside the tank.
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If you plan to road trip around the United States this summer, be prepared to pay $4 a gallon for gas no matter where you stop. For the first time ever, the average price of gasoline is $4 or higher in all 50 states, according to AAA.

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The final three states to cross the $4 barrier were Georgia, Kansas and Oklahoma. As of May 16, all three had average prices under $4 a gallon, AAA reported. But each of those states moved above $4 on Wednesday, May 18.

The national average is $4.567 a gallon, a new record high. That compares to $4.404 a week ago, $4.087 a month ago and $3.043 a year ago.

Prices could push even higher as demand rises during the summer travel season. Analysts at JPMorgan warn that the national average could push about $6 a gallon amid a dwindling supply, CNN Business reported.

For now, California is the only state where average prices at the pump have risen about $6 a gallon. The Golden State’s current average is a wallet-draining $6.05 a gallon. Kansas has the cheapest average at $4.026.

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Gas prices have been rising steadily for more than a year, but they’ve really surged in 2022 amid a collision of different forces that have pushed oil prices higher. These forces include Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which disrupted the global oil supply; a low inventory of petroleum at U.S. refineries; and an unwillingness on the part of OPEC to release more reserves.

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“The high cost of oil, the key ingredient in gasoline, is driving these high pump prices for consumers,” AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross said in a statement earlier this week. “Even the annual seasonal demand dip for gasoline during the lull between spring break and Memorial Day, which would normally help lower prices, is having no effect this year.”

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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