Drivers should expect that the average price of a gallon of gas could jump another 10 to 20 cents by August, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).
AAA reported Tuesday that the gas price average nationwide has spiked by 40 percent since the beginning of the year, from $2.25 on Jan. 1 to $3.13 on July 6. The trade group noted prices aren’t “stopping there,” as AAA projected a further increase of around 10 to 20 cents by the end of August, pushing the national average well above $3.25 this summer.
“Robust gasoline demand and more expensive crude oil prices are pushing gas prices higher,” Jeanette McGee, AAA spokesperson, said. “We had hoped that global crude production increases would bring some relief at the pump this month, but weekend OPEC negotiations fell through with no agreement reached. As a result, crude prices are set to surge to a seven-year high.”
AAA also reported that the price of crude oil is likely to surpass $76.40 as early as Tuesday night, which would carve a path toward a “very expensive peak driving season.”
In an interview with Fox Business’ “Cavuto: Coast to Coast” last month, Gasbuddy Head of Petroleum Analysis Patrick de Hann warned that it might be “quite some time” before drivers in the U.S. see relatively stable gas prices.
“Traditionally we see gas prices start declining in mid-to-late August as we start to see things [going] back to normal, kids going back to school, vacations basically ending,” de Hann said. “This year, though, I think the concern is that…the normal seasonal down-turning could be mitigated by the fact that offices are starting to see returns by fall and so commutes could start to increase.”
He added, “That really brings to question, will we see a seasonal decline in autumn, and when will it be?”
Fuel prices first exceeded $3 per gallon in May following the Colonial Pipeline hack that shut off the Southeast’s major gasoline pipeline after remaining below that amount for roughly seven years. The pipeline’s shutdown triggered a panic-buying surge that emptied gas stations across the region, prompting the price of gas to spike.
Republicans, however, have pinned the blame on the Biden administration for being responsible for the gas price increases.
But White House press secretary Jen Psaki rejected these claims Tuesday, arguing, “I think there sometimes is a misunderstanding of what causes gas prices to increase and so, to convey to the American people, that we’re working on it and certainly the supply availability of oil has a huge impact. I would also say that ensuring Americans don’t bear a burden at the pump continues to be a top priority for the administration at large.”
Rachel Bucchino is a reporter at the National Interest. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, and The Hill.