Gas prices just keep climbing higher, and a gallon of regular gas in the U.S. will likely average $4 before the end of the weekend, analysts projected Saturday.
The cost of gasoline has risen in recent weeks as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine applies pressure on global oil markets. At the same time, the U.S. has begun lifting mask mandates instituted to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, a move projected to spur consumer spending and travel.
The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline rose to $3.92 Saturday, up from $3.84 on Friday, according to AAA.
Prices had risen 11 cents Friday, up from $3.73 on Thursday, AAA said. That followed an 11-cent increase between Monday and Thursday. Prices averaged $3.60 a week ago and $3.44 a month ago, the organization said.
This week’s increases suggest it is likely the national average “could creep over $4/gallon tomorrow,” AAA said in a statement to USA TODAY.
Fuel-saving app GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis Patrick De Haan expected the $4 mark to be hit Saturday, he said in a tweet. “The national average of gasoline appears poised to breach the $4/gal mark today for only the second time ever,” he tweeted.
Gas prices hit about $4.10 per gallon in July 2008, according to both AAA and GasBuddy, when during the Great Recession economic growth outpaced oil production.
Amid the post-pandemic reopening and increased tension caused by the Ukraine-Russia crisis, gas prices of $4 per gallon or more by Memorial Day had been predicted.
Don’t look for gas prices to hold at $4 nationally. Many places are seeing gas of $5 or more already. The average price per gallon in California has surpassed $5 at $5.18, the most expensive market in the U.S., AAA said.
Several other states have already surpassed the average $4 per gallon, according to 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.