By DAN MCCALEB
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – Average U.S. gas prices crossed the $5 threshold for the first time ever Saturday, further stressing Americans struggling to make ends meet as inflation continues to soar.
According to AAA, the average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline is $5.004 as of Saturday after prices rose every day for the past two weeks. In California, the average price is $6.43 per gallon, while Santa Barbara County averages $6.35 per gallon.
A week ago, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was $4.82. A month ago, it was $4.40. A year ago, it was $3.08. That’s nearly a $2 a gallon increase in the past 12 months.
“Not a great way to start the weekend, the highest #gasprices ever – the national average for gasoline is now at $5.01 per gallon with 20 states above the $5 mark,” Patrick De Haan at GasBuddy tweeted Saturday morning. GasBuddy compiles its own data to calculate average prices. “Diesel continues to rise as well, and stands at $5.76/gal with 13 states averaging over $6 while Cali stands near $7.”
Diesel fuels the trucks that transport food and other consumer goods across the country, contributing to 40-year-high inflation. The U.S. Department of Labor released data Friday showing consumer prices climbed 8.6% in May over the same period last year, the largest increase since 1981.
As the summer travel season swings into full gear and supply can’t keep up with demand, analysts say gas prices are going to continue to rise.
While President Joe Biden blames Russia’s war in Ukraine and the oil industry for the record high prices, Republicans blame the president’s green energy policies.
“Biden promised to eliminate oil and natural gas, now families are paying the price for his anti-American energy agenda,” the Republican National Committee tweeted. “Biden’s solution? Force Americans to drive less or buy an expensive electric vehicle.”
News-Press Associate Editor Matt Smolensky contributed to this report.