The national average for regular gasoline rose to a fresh record of $4.62 a gallon on Monday, according to AAA. That’s up by a penny from Sunday and 44 cents more expensive than a month ago.
Gas prices are up sharply from last Memorial Day, when they averaged $3.05 a gallon, according to AAA.
Seven states are now averaging $5-a-gallon gas, with the latest being Illinois (rounded up from $4.996). New York and Arizona are just pennies away from hitting that milestone. And there are no states where gas prices average less than $4.10 a gallon.
In spite of high prices, AAA estimates that 34.9 million people are traveling by car this holiday weekend, up 4.6% from last year.
Even after adjusting for inflation, gas prices are very elevated.
Real (that is, inflation-adjusted) gas prices haven’t been this high heading into Memorial Day weekend since 2012, according to the US Energy Information Administration. The all-time high for average inflation-adjusted gas prices was set in June 2008 at $5.38 a gallon.
Soaring gas prices reflect strong demand as people ramp up their summer travel plans and sluggish supply caused by a confluence of factors, including disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine and the fact that both the United States and OPEC are pumping less oil than before Covid-19.
Another factor: After a series of retirements, US refineries are having trouble keeping up with surging demand for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.