How gas prices and inflation could impact midterm elections
New York (CNN)The gas price spike keeps getting worse.
The national average jumped to $4.87 a gallon on Monday, according to AAA. That’s up 25 cents in the past week and 59 cents in the past month.
There are now 10 states where the average price of gasoline is $5 a gallon or higher, with the latest being Michigan and Indiana. Washington, DC, is also above $5.
New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts are just pennies away. Georgia is the only state with an average below $4.30 a gallon.
In total, more than one out of every five gas stations nationwide are now charging more than $5 a gallon for regular, and just over half are charging $4.75 or more.
Unfortunately, prices could continue to climb.
Veteran oil analyst Andy Lipow told CNN he expects the national average to hit $5.05 a gallon in the next 10 days.
Oil, the biggest component of gasoline prices, continues to get more expensive — even after OPEC+ announced plans late last week to ramp up production.
Gas prices have been driven to record highs by a range of factors, including strong demand for energy as people drive and fly more.
Supply, on the other hand, has failed to keep up. The United States is pumping less oil than before Covid-19 began, and the market is signaling OPEC+’s increase is too little, too late. US crude jumped to a fresh three-month high of $120.99 a barrel Monday morning before backing away.
Manuel Santana, a Bronx resident who works as an EMT, said just a few months ago it cost him $40 to fill up his tank to drive to work. Now, it costs about $60.
“It’s frustrating,” Santana said while at a Manhattan gas station where a regular gallon of gas now fetches $6. “Honestly, there’s not much you can do about it.”
Abdallah Alweimine, an Uber driver, said his gas expenses have gone from $150 a week to $250 a week. And he worries they will go even higher.
Back in early March, the national average gas price first broke the record of $4.11 for a gallon of regular that had stood since 2008. That price now seems like the good old days. The national average price has been rising steadily for the past month, setting 27 records in the last 28 days.
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, told CNN in a phone interview that he is feeling more optimistic about the ability of the US economy to get inflation under control without causing a downturn. But Zandi said the one catch would be a further spike in oil prices.
“If oil prices go to $150, we are going into recession. There is no way out,” Zandi said.
— CNN Business’ Chris Isidore contributed to this report.
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