This weekend, Americans will have to drive with the highest gas prices in seven years, and the White House has promised to monitor fuel costs.
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According to data from auto club AAA, the national average price at gas stations is up to $3,045 a gallon this month, the highest since 2014 and 10% lower than Friday.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Friday: “The president knows that gas prices are a sore point for Americans. “President Biden opposes any proposal to raise taxes on gasoline. And that’s why we’ll continue to monitor prices and are happy that Americans can hit the road again.”
Gasoline demand is rising back to near pre-pandemic levels as the world’s largest economy reopens and motorists eagerly hit the road after a year of sanctions and restrictions.
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said average summer gasoline demand could return to normal, with some weeks above the record 10 million bpd. Any disruption to refinery supplies such as a hurricane or unexpected outage could send prices skyrocketing.
“The concern is that any glitch could be made worse by a shortage of truck drivers, leading to a delay in recovery and further affecting prices.” De Haan said in an email.
The weekend before Memorial Day on Monday usually marks the start of driving season in the United States.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, national demand for gasoline, as measured by the 4-week average for the fuel supplied, rose above 9 million bpd for the first time since March 2015. last.
The increase comes at a time when the nation’s gasoline supply is struggling to recover from a week-long shutdown earlier this month of the Colonial pipeline. The nation’s largest fuel pipeline, which carries gasoline and diesel from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast, has been temporarily hampered by a cyber attack, causing gasoline shortages in the region.
Restoring supplies in the region has not been as easy as restarting fuel flows, in part due to a severe shortage of trucks and drivers sufficient to transport gasoline from hubs to retailers. And refineries are operating at their lowest seasonal rates in nearly a decade, due to a drop in demand caused by the Wuhan virus pandemic.
In her statement, Ms. Psaki said that prices remained as they were in recent years, i.e. at real prices or discounted because of inflation.
She said: “Americans who drive today pay less for fuel than they have averaged over the past 15 years. “They are paying the same price as May 2018 and May 2019.”
Tien Minh (according to Bloomberg)