The national average was $ 4.07 when current price rises began on April 15. The current price reading from OPIS represents a 23% increase in less than two months.
While the $ 5 national average is new, $ 5 gas is uncomfortably common in most parts of the country.
OPIS data compiling readings from 130,000 US gas stations used to compile AAA averages show that 32% of stations nationwide charge about $ 5 a gallon on Friday readings. And around 10% of stations nationwide charge more than $ 5.75 per gallon.
Saturday’s reading averaged $ 5 a gallon or more statewide in 21 states, along with Washington DC.
$ 6 gas could be next
According to Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for OPIS, the US national average for gasoline is expected to reach $ 6 later this summer.
“Anything goes from June 20 to Labor Day,” Cloja said earlier this week about the demand for gas, and people took to the road for a long-awaited vacation. “Come to hell or high gas prices. People are going to take vacations.”
The highest statewide average is in California, where Saturday’s readings average $ 6.43 a gallon. But the pain of higher prices is being felt not only in California or other high-priced states but across the country.
It’s hard to find cheap gas
This is partly because the cheapest is not cheap – the $ 4.47 a gallon average price in Georgia is the cheapest statewide. Less than 300 gas stations nationwide are charging $ 4.25 a gallon or less on Friday’s reading from OPIS. For comparison purposes, the national average for a gas record set in July 2008 was $ 4.11 before the run-up in prices earlier this year.
There are some early signs that people are starting to cut their drive in the face of higher prices, but this is still a modest decline.
The number of gallons pumped into stations in the last week of May was about 5% lower than the same week a year ago, according to OPIS, though gas prices have risen more than 50% since then. According to Mobility Research Firm Inrix, the number of US trips by car has dropped by about 5% since the beginning of May, though those trips have increased by 5% since the beginning of the year.
The main concern is that consumers will cut other costs to keep running, which is already showing signs of weakness to the recession.
Several reasons for record price
Beyond the strong demand for gasoline, there is also a supply problem that increases the price of both oil and gasoline. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the restrictions imposed by Russia on the United States and Europe since then, have been important because Russia is one of the world’s leading oil exporters. But this is only part of the reason.
US oil production and refining capacity has not fully recovered to pre-epidemic levels. And with prices still higher in Europe, some US and Canadian refineries export gasoline to Europe, usually supplying gas to the US market.
– CNN’s Matt Egan and Michelle Watson contributed to this report.