Gas prices across the nation reached levels unheard of in recent years, and they have become a topic of contention. Only a year ago, gas prices were just above the $2 per gallon mark, but since then we have seen them rise as high as $5 and more in some states. Only recently has there been a slight pullback in gas prices. Gas prices have been high before, of course.
In fact, economic cycles, supply and demand, and even war have contributed to higher and lower gas prices over the years.
How much Americans actually pay at the pump depends on several factors, namely, the price of crude oil, which is determined in large part by global supply and demand. Other variables affecting the price of a gallon of gasoline include transportation and refining costs and taxes.
Often geopolitical concerns affect the price of crude. Recently, a key driver of global oil prices has been the ongoing war in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion of the country. It begs the question of what comes next. For comparison, here’s how every war in U.S. history ended.
While Ukraine is thousands of miles away, the war has far-reaching effects and reaches Americans at their local gas pump. The war has also contributed to surging prices of other commodities, leading to inflation in many countries, including the U.S., where the consumer price index grew at historic levels in recent months. In the past few weeks, oil prices fell, leading to an easing in inflation in July. (See, the price of this household item is soaring.)
Some are blaming the current administration for the high gas prices and high inflation, while others are pointing the finger abroad. Regardless of the culpability, it is indisputable that gas prices, though slightly cheaper than a few weeks ago, are very high historically.
To find the cost of gas each year since 1990, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed annual average gas prices nationwide each year from the Energy Information Administration. All data is from the EIA.
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