Gas prices just keep rising, and a gallon of regular gasoline in the US is likely to average $4 before the end of the weekend, analysts forecast on Saturday.
Gasoline costs have risen in recent weeks as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine puts pressure on global oil markets. At the same time, the US has begun lifting mask mandates introduced to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, a move intended to boost consumer spending and travel.
The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline rose to $3.92 on Saturday, up from $3.84 on Friday, according to AAA.
Prices were up 11 cents on Friday from $3.73 on Thursday, AAA said. This was followed by an 11 cent hike between Monday and Thursday. Prices averaged $3.60 a week ago and $3.44 a month ago, the organization said.
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This week’s gains suggest it’s likely the national average “could crawl above $4/gallon tomorrow,” AAA said in a statement to USA TODAY.
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at fuel-saving app GasBuddy, expected the $4 mark to be hit on Saturday, he said in a tweet. “The national gasoline average today appears to be breaking the $4 mark for only the second time,” he tweeted.
Gas prices hit about $4.10 a gallon in July 2008, according to AAA and GasBuddy, as economic growth outstripped oil production during the Great Recession.
Amid the post-pandemic reopening and heightened tensions caused by the Ukraine-Russia crisis, By Memorial Day, gas prices had been forecast to be $4 a gallon or more.
Don’t look for gas prices that are $4 nationwide. Many places are already seeing gas for $5 or more. The average price per gallon in California has surpassed $5.18, the most expensive market in the US, at $5.18, AAA said.
Several other states have already surpassed the $4 per gallon average, according to the AAA:
- Hawaii ($4.69)
- Nevada ($4.41)
- Oregon ($4.38)
- Washington ($4.33)
- Alaska ($4.30)
- Illinois ($4.16)
- New York ($4.14)
- Pennsylvania ($4.09)
- Connecticut ($4.08)
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.