WASHINGTON, D.C. – Potentially throwing a very big wrench into the plans of anyone who was anticipating taking a road trip this summer, the average retail price for a gallon of regular gasoline nationwide hit $4.71 on Thursday – an all-time record – with experts saying that number could go as high as $5 by mid-June and over $6 by August.
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said that after a recent lull in the price of gas at the pump, motorists can expect things to only go downhill from here as the summer season kicks in.
“After several weeks of soaring gas prices, last week saw prices nationally slow down ahead of Memorial Day, but I’m afraid the good news ends there,” he said. “As a result of the continued decline in gasoline inventories in recent weeks, wholesale gas prices surged last week, which will likely boost prices at the pump in short order.”
De Haan noted that the national average price for gas will likely reach $5 per gallon by June 17; however, things are projected to get even worse from there, as research conducted by JPMorgan indicates that gas prices could experience an additional surge by August, potentially reaching as much as $6.20 per gallon on average nationally.
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Currently, California – the U.S. state hit hardest by rising gas prices – has already reached that point, with the average price per gallon at the pump being $6.21 and rising.
There is a slight glimmer of hope, however, with the OPEC oil cartel and their oil-producing allies – including Russia – announcing that they will be increasing their output of oil by an additional 648,000 barrels per day in July and August, which may translate to some degree of relief for those being shell-shocked by the record-breaking prices of gas worldwide.
Gas prices have shot up significantly since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and many countries’ subsequent ban on importing oil from Russian sources in retaliation – but experts say that prices were potentially already on-track to rise even without the conflict in Europe.