(ReliableNews.org) – The freedom to drive to and from places is woven into the fabric of American society. And since nearly all vehicles depend on gasoline to run, that means gas prices at the pump have a significant impact on the citizens of this country. While the amount of money people spend filling up their tanks varies from place to place, the US is seeing the highest gas prices in October since 2014.
Obviously, during the height of the pandemic in 2020, the cost of gas was very low because demand was down. But even before the onset of COVID, American families enjoyed relatively reasonable prices at the pump during the Trump era, with fluctuations between an average of $2.15 and $2.73 per gallon from 2016 to the beginning of 2020.
Unfortunately, by October 6, the average price of a gallon of gas across the US was $3.22, with parts of California paying over $5 a gallon. Given a standard car holds up to 18 gallons of gas, Americans in the Golden State have to shell out about $90 to top off their tanks. Even in Mississippi, where the per-gallon rate is an average of $2.85, that’s still approaching $50 to fill ‘er up.
What’s Driving Prices?
Many Americans are wondering why the cost of gas is rising at such a rapid rate. After all, many citizens are still reeling from the personal and economic effects of the pandemic.
Part of the increase is because after a year of quarantines and working from home, there is more demand for gas, as businesses and events open up and people begin to socialize and work again. That’s basic economic laws of supply and demand, considering crude oil supplies stayed the same at 400,000 barrels per day from OPEC+. Additionally, Hurricane Ida also affected the supply of oil in late August.
But those aren’t the only reasons for the bump.
Another cause for higher gas rates is the cost of oil, whose share prices are on the rise — some as much as 64%. And as oil shares continue toward the sky due to current and anticipated demand as life returns to normal, gasoline prices will follow suit.
Fortunately for families, forecasters expect the spike to level off by 2022, landing slightly higher than before the pandemic.
The Hit on Americans
But knowing why Americans are paying more to fill their vehicles does little to change the fact it’s getting more challenging to buy gas and return to the way life used to be. Families struggling to put food on the table, especially the poor or middle classes, feel the strain more than anyone. And after the pandemic’s devastating reach, that’s one additional hit American families don’t need.
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