As of Oct. 27, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline rose to $3.394 from the prior day’s $3.389 and up from the month ago average of $3.189, according to AAA.
“With the U.S. economy slowly recovering from the depths of the pandemic, demand for gas is robust, but the supply is tight,” Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, said in a statement. “We haven’t seen prices this high since September of 2014.”
The nation’s top 5 most expensive markets were, as of Oct. 27: California ($4.56), Hawaii ($4.29), Nevada ($3.93), Washington ($3.87), and Oregon ($3.78).
San Francisco gasoline prices, which according to AAA on Tuesday averaged $4.73 for a gallon of regular unleaded, appear poised to hit an all-time record high.
GasBuddy head petroleum analyst Patrick De Haan said in a tweet late Monday that gasoline prices in San Francisco were just 1.2 cents shy of a new all-time high.
“It will be the first city to set a new record high for #gasprices since 2012,” De Haan predicted.
The Biden administration has faced sharp criticism over rising gasoline prices, but it has “no immediate plans” to tap into emergency reserves or limit energy exports outside the United States, the Energy Department told CNBC this week.
The Biden administration’s chief plan to ease surging high gasoline prices was to persuade OPEC+ to agree to boost production more sharply to reduce the supply crunch, but, so far, that plan has failed.
“There are limitations to what any president can do, as it relates to gas prices,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Oct. 22, adding that the administration was continuing to engage with OPEC+ on boosting supplies.
Earlier in October, OPEC+ announced it would hold fast to the terms of an earlier agreement to boost oil production gradually—by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) for the month of November—ignoring calls from the Biden administration to pump more crude.
Meanwhile, oil prices fell by around 1 percent on Oct. 27 after industry data showed crude oil stockpiles rose more than expected and fuel inventories unexpectedly increased last week in the United States.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its most recent short-term energy outlook that it expects retail gasoline prices to fall to an average of $3.05 per gallon in December, an encouraging sign for drivers hoping for relief at the pump.
At the same time, the EIA expects WTI crude oil prices to average $68.24 per barrel in 2022, down only slightly from $68.48 in 2021 and far higher than the $39.17 in 2020 and $56.99 in 2019.
Brent crude prices are forecast to rise to an average of $71.91 per barrel in 2022 from $71.38 this year, up from $41.69 in 2020 and $64.34 in 2019.
By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he’s ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: ‘Hit your target’ and ‘leave the best for last.’