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U.S. gasoline prices jumped on Thursday to a national average of $5 per gallon, a record high, according to data from fuel-savings app GasBuddy.
The $5 threshold had been widely expected for weeks now, considering the rise in international crude oil prices, the constrained refinery capacity in the United States, the robust demand despite record-high prices, and multi-year low fuel inventories in the U.S.
GasBuddy data also showed on Thursday that week to date (Sunday through Wednesday), U.S. gasoline demand inched up by 0.14% from last week, but was down by 0.55% from the week before Memorial Day, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, tweeted today.
Also according to GasBuddy, 17 states have already reached a state average of over $5 per gallon of regular gasoline.
Per AAA data, the national average gasoline price on June 9 was still 3 cents shy of the $5 mark, at $4.970.
Earlier this week, GasBuddy’s De Haan expected average gasoline prices nationwide to hit the $5 a gallon mark as early as this week, on June 10, a week earlier than previously forecast. They did that a day earlier than expected.
Average gasoline prices in the U.S. are now up $0.66 per gallon in the last month as gasoline supply tightens, GasBuddy commented in a blog post.
“This long-anticipated milestone comes behind months of gas price increases across the country, accelerated by the rise in seasonal demand amidst supply constraints borne out of the pandemic.”
“It’s been one kink after another this year, and worst of all, demand doesn’t seem to be responding to the surge in gas prices, meaning there is a high probability that prices could go even higher in the weeks ahead,” GasBuddy’s De Haan commented.
“It’s a perfect storm of factors all aligning to create a rare environment of rapid price hikes. The situation could become even worse should there be any unexpected issues at the nation’s refineries or a major hurricane that impacts oil production or refineries this summer.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.