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Americans face rising gas prices again

(The Center Square) – Gas prices are steadily rising around the U.S. again, leaving many cash-strapped Americans struggling to keep up.

According to AAA, the current average price for a gallon of regular-grade gas nationally is $3.63. That is a sharp increase from $3.39 just one month ago. Crude oil prices have risen steadily over the last 30 days, from about $77 per barrel to $85 per barrel.

Californians are paying an average of $5.41 a gallon. Just a month ago in California, the average was $4.88.

Overall, gas prices have risen about 50% since President Joe Biden took office.

Diesel prices also rose last month, up from $2.77 to $2.95 per gallon.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics pointed to higher gas prices as a key factor in overall inflation, which has increased in speed this year.

In fact, as The Center Square previously reported, BLS released its Consumer Price Index Wednesday, a key marker of inflation, which rose 0.4% in March and 3.5% in the past twelve months, an acceleration after economists hoped inflation would level off.

The gas price increase does have a seasonal element since gas prices often rise in the summer as more Americans travel and refiners begin using different blends that release less pollution.

At the same time, the Russia-Ukraine war has also impacted the global oil markets. Russia is a major oil producer globally. On top of that, the Israel-Gaza war has become increasingly volatile and could escalate to a larger war in the Middle East, which would likely send gas prices soaring.

Morgan Stanely pointed in part to global conflict when it revised up its Brent crude oil price forecast for the third quarter to $94 per barrel.

On top of that, Biden’s critics point out he has created a less favorable environment for domestic energy production.

“Since the first day of his administration Joe Biden has waged a war on fossil fuels taking pride in denying drilling permits and land access for production,” Daniel Turner, executive director at the energy workers advocacy group, Power the Future, told The Center Square. “Now those actions are catching up to us, but team Biden is thrilled: high gas prices will be used as a catalyst to force Americans into EVs against their will.”

The latest gas price increase is reminiscent of a spike in gas prices earlier in Biden’s term, an increase that pushed unleaded prices over $5 per gallon. In response, Biden began releasing oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Oil Reserves.

Biden drained the reserves to the lowest level in decades, helping drive down prices but also raising national security concerns.

Biden promised to replenish the reserves, but last week he announced a pause on that replenishment, saying prices had risen too much.

After the announcement, Biden took more fire from Republicans. The gas prices, alongside elevated inflation and high mortgage rates have put more pressure on the president.

“In 2022, Joe Biden drained the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for his political benefit,” Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Now, the Biden Administration has canceled plans to refill our oil reserves. Biden’s radical Green New Deal agenda and assault on domestic oil production are putting America’s national security at risk.”

 

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