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Record US Gasoline Prices Ahead of Summer Driving Season

In: Finance, Forex

US gasoline prices surged to another fresh record, the latest blow to motorists heading into the summer driving season.

Average retail prices in the US reached $4.619 per gallon as of Monday, according to the latest data from the American Automobile Association.

 Gasoline is up from $4.178 a gallon a month ago and is about 52% higher than a year-earlier.

President Joe Biden has vowed to do everything in his power to fight record-setting gasoline and diesel prices, including releasing millions of barrels of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

However, costs have continued to rise, adding fresh pain at the pump for drivers. Nymex gasoline futures also gained in trading on Monday morning, reaching as high as 403.33 cents a gallon — in what would be another record if they settled at that level.

Crude benchmarks Brent and WTI also rose, buoyed by China easing lockdown restrictions and a European Union proposal to ban Russian shipments.

President Joe Biden has vowed to do everything in his power to fight record-setting prices, but he’s up against a stark reality: There are few options for taming the surge.

While Biden has unleashed an unprecedented amount of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve, other tools at the administration’s disposal would come at the expense of environmental protection and have little effect on fuel costs stoked by strained crude supplies and a global shortage of refining capacity.

And the one sure-fire fix — for Americans to stop driving so much — is largely outside his control.

Americans have already begun paring their driving in the face of gasoline prices that have set near-daily records for the last two weeks, but no one should expect Biden to encourage more of that conservation.

Oil and its products are globally traded commodities that are largely dictated by complex supply and demand fundamentals. Still, Biden’s inability to rein in high energy costs, coupled with soaring food inflation, puts his Democratic party’s congressional majority at risk in the midterm elections this fall.

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