By DAN MCCALEB
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – A day after the average price of a gallon of gas hit the $5 mark nationally for the first time in history, prices ticked up again overnight to set another new record Sunday.
According to AAA, the U.S. average is now $5.01 a gallon, a day after reaching $5. Prices have risen every day in June. A week ago, the average price was $4.89. A month ago, it was $4.42. A year ago, it was $3.08. That’s nearly a $2 a gallon increase in the past 12 months.
In California, the average is now $6.43 per gallon, while in Santa Barbara County the average is $6.35 per gallon.
The price of diesel fuel also rose slightly overnight to $5.77 a gallon. Diesel powers the trucks that transport food and other consumer goods across the country, contributing to 40-year-high inflation.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported Friday that consumer prices spiked 8.6% in May over the same period last year, the largest increase since 1981.
GasBuddy, which also monitors gas prices nationally, says demand for gasoline is rising as the summer travel season is here.
“According to GasBuddy data, weekly (Sun-Sat) US gasoline demand rose 2.7% from the prior week and was 1.1% above the average of the last four weeks,” Patrick De Haan at GasBuddy tweeted Sunday. “It was the highest level of 2022.”
As demand outpaces supply, analysts expect costs to continue to rise through the summer.
While President Joe Biden blames Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the oil industry for record high gas prices, recent polling indicates a majority of Americans blame the president. An April Rasmussen Reports poll found 61% of voters say Biden has not done enough to address gas prices, as previously reported by The Center Square.
“Gas prices are at a record high!,” U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas tweeted Saturday. “It’s truly amazing to watch the corporate press try to bend over backwards in their attempt to shift the blame from Biden. He literally campaigned on shutting down oil & gas drilling!”
During a 2020 Democratic presidential debate, President Biden said, “no more subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. No more drilling on federal land. No more drilling including offshore. No more ability for the oil industry to continue to drill. Period.”
On his first day in office, Mr. Biden blocked new leases for the oil industry on federal lands, including in the Gulf of Mexico, ended the Keystone Pipeline project and placed other new restrictions on the industry.
News-Press Associate Editor Matt Smolensky contributed to this report.