Americans who are traveling this holiday weekend are experiencing unprecedented prices at the gas pump.
On Monday, the national average for regular gasoline rose to $4.62 a gallon, according to AAA. That’s up by a penny from Sunday and 44 cents more expensive than a month ago.
Currently, 7 states are averaging $5-a-gallon gas, with Illinois (rounded up from $4.996) being the most recent addition to that list. 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.
Despite high gas prices, AAA estimates that 34.9 million people will be traveling by car this holiday weekend, up 4.6% from last year.
Gas prices are significantly higher than they were a few years ago, even after adjusting for inflation.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, inflation-adjusted gas prices haven’t been this high heading into Memorial Day weekend since 2012. The all-time high for average inflation-adjusted gas prices was set in June 2008 at $5.38 a gallon.
Rising 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, which has cut into European imports of Russian crude oil, and low production by OPEC member countries.
Another factor contributing to the price spike is that after several refinery retirements, US refineries cannot produce enough gasoline, diesel and jet fuel to meet demand.