As drivers hit the road this Labor Day weekend, gas prices are close to an all-time high.
According to AAA, the national average price for normal gas was $3.83 per gallon on Thursday, when many holiday travelers were expected to begin their journeys.
According to federal data dating back to 1990, Thursday’s price is slightly under the Labor Day record of $3.84 per gallon set in 2012.
On Memorial Day, at the end of May, the nationwide average price for regular gasoline was 25 cents lower, at $3.58 per gallon. The average price was $3.55 per gallon just before the Fourth of July, when millions of drivers traveled for the holiday.
“This is abnormal. Prices normally fade towards the end of the summer,” John LaForge, head of real asset strategy at the Wells Fargo Investment Institute, told CNN.
Several reasons, including OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia cutting oil supply earlier this summer, have contributed to increased gas prices. Beginning in July, the Saudis reduced oil output by one million barrels per day, causing crude oil prices to skyrocket.
Gas prices in some states are significantly higher than the national average.
According to AAA, eleven states have average gas costs of $4 or more per gallon, including California, Illinois, Washington, and Arizona.
Previously, the Biden administration was credited with the odd drop in gas costs, even as prices remained high and Americans struggled to keep up.
In September of last year, President Biden incorrectly claimed that the average gas price in 41 states and the District of Columbia was less than $2.99. In truth, the national average gas price at the time was less than $3.99, not $2.99.
The White House amended the official transcript of Biden’s speech to read the right figure of $3.99 when news outlets pointed out the inaccuracy.
Critics have called on Biden to accept responsibility for rising gas costs, but the administration has been reluctant to do so. Some have also pointed out that, according to AAA, the national average gas price the day before Biden took office was $2.38, about $1 less than Thursday’s $3.83 average.
As the election season gets underway, gas costs will become increasingly prominent in the political debate, particularly the topic of whether the Biden administration is playing a role in keeping prices high.
Travelers for the Labor Day vacation have already begun to hit the road. Thursday was slated to be the busiest day of the holiday weekend on the highways.
This year, more than half of all Americans are anticipated to travel for Labor Day, with millions driving. According to experts, high petrol costs will not deter holiday travelers.
“No matter how expensive gas prices are, when people decide to go on vacation, they just budget in the price of gas,” AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross told CBS News.
“They’re gonna take that trip,” he said.
According to researchers, the increase in travel demand is partly due to the epidemic, with more individuals eager to travel this summer now that more COVID restrictions have been relaxed.