The national average price for a gallon of regular gas stood at $3.92 a gallon Saturday, according to AAA. That is the highest price since April 2012.
“This is not the end of it,” said Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for OPIS, which collects data from 140,000 gas stations nationwide for AAA’s price averages. Wholesale gasoline prices rose another 23 cents in trading Friday. Kloza said the wholesale gas price increases are likely to be passed onto consumers in short order.
“It’s absolutely out of control,” he said.
The average household uses about 90 gallons a month, said Kloza, so a $1.17 increase in gas prices costs that household about $105.50 a month, or just under $1,300 over the course of a year.
Prices have been rising because Russia is one of the world’s major oil exporters, with most of its oil going to Europe and Asia. Russian oil made up only 2% of US oil imports in December, according to Energy Department data.
But oil is priced on global commodity markets, so the impact of Russia on global markets is felt everywhere.
“It’s not mission-critical. Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia — those are the big boys” in terms of US oil imports, said Kloza. “Russia is a bit player.”
Kloza said even without a ban on US imports of Russian oil, he could see the average price rise to a new record of between $4.25 to $4.50 a gallon. He said the rapid rise in the price of gas is making a particularly strong impression on the public, compared to a slow but steady increase in prices.
“When you get increases this quick, and this dramatic, you really scald the public,” he said.
California’s statewide average jumped 13 cents on Friday to $5.07 a gallon, making it the first state ever to have an average price above $5 a gallon. Its average price rose another 11 cents to $5.18 Saturday.
There are now 11 states — California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Arizona, as well as Washington, DC — where the average price was already over $4 a gallon, with Connecticut, Arizona and Washington, DC, crossing the $4 mark with the latest reading.
Six more states — New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maryland and Delaware, are within a nickel of that $4 average.