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U.S. gasoline average price tops $5 per gallon in historic first

Commodities Jun 11, 2022 12:26PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A customer refuels their vehicle at a Mobil gas station in Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood, California, U.S., March 10, 2022. Picture taken March 10, 2022. REUTERS/Bing Guan 2/2

By Laura Sanicola

(Reuters) -The price of U.S. gasoline averaged more than $5 a gallon for the first time on Saturday, data from the AAA showed, extending a surge in fuel costs that is driving rising inflation.

The national average price for regular unleaded gas rose to $5.004 a gallon on June 11 from $4.986 a day earlier, AAA data showed.

High gasoline prices are a headache for President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats as they struggle to maintain their slim control of Congress with midterm elections coming up in November.

Biden has pulled on numerous levers to try to lower prices, including a record release of barrels from U.S. strategic reserves, waivers on rules for producing summer gasoline, and leaning on major OPEC countries to boost output.

Yet fuel prices have been surging around the world due to a combination of rebounding demand, sanctions on oil producer Russia after its invasion of Ukraine and a squeeze on refining capacity.

DEMAND DESTRUCTIONU.S. road travel, however, has remained relatively strong, just a couple of percentage points below pre-pandemic levels, even as prices have risen.

Still, economists expect demand may start to decline if prices remain above $5 a barrel for a sustained period.

"The $5 level is where we could see very heavy amounts of gasoline demand destruction," said Reid L'Anson, senior economist at Kpler.

Adjusting for inflation, the U.S. gasoline average is still approximately 8% below June 2008 highs around $5.41 a gallon, according to U.S. Energy Department figures.

Consumer spending has so far remained resilient even with inflation running at its highest level in more than four decades, with household balance sheets shored up by pandemic relief programs and a tight job market that has fueled strong wage gains, especially for lower-income workers.

Gasoline product supplied, a proxy for demand, was 9.2 million barrels per day last week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, broadly in line with five-year seasonal averages.

The high prices for drivers come as major oil-and-gas companies post bumper profits. Shell (LON:RDSa) reported a record quarter in May and Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX) and BP (NYSE:BP) have posted their best numbers in a decade.

Other majors, including Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and TotalEnergies, as well as U.S. independent shale operators, reported strong figures that have spurred share repurchases and dividend investments.

Numerous companies have said they will avoid excessive investment to boost output due to investors’ desires to hold the line on spending, rather than respond to $100-plus barrel prices that have persisted for months.

Refiners have been struggling to rebuild inventories which have dwindled, especially on the U.S. East Coast, reflecting exports to Europe where buyers are weaning themselves off of Russian oil.

Currently, refiners are utilizing about 94% of their capacity, but overall U.S. refining capacity has fallen, with at least five oil-processing plants shutting during the pandemic.

That has left the United States structurally short of refining capacity for the first time in decades, analysts said.

U.S. gasoline average price tops $5 per gallon in historic first
 

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Comments (21)
Nils Hullmann
Nils Hullmann Jun 12, 2022 5:19AM ET
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I did this ! love those Stickers
Santosh Oak
Santosh Oak Jun 11, 2022 8:01PM ET
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Geriatric Biden has lost the plot. He is more concerned about Trump & Zelenski than the economy or gas prices, driving the world into a tailspin.Great going. Will see you all survivors, at the bottom.
Aurelio Benavides
Aurelio Benavides Jun 11, 2022 6:38PM ET
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https://ugetube.com/watch/adolf-hitler-el-hombre-que-luch%C3%B3-contra-la-banca-alerta-judiada_Gq73e1BwEmbJRPh.html
Imre Zsombor Varga
Imre Zsombor Varga Jun 11, 2022 6:22PM ET
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That's why it's important here. Why are the world’s largest oil-producing countries all sanctioned by America? Did everyone look stupid?
Imre Zsombor Varga
Imre Zsombor Varga Jun 11, 2022 5:23PM ET
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We are constantly switching to electric cars. That doesn’t mean gasoline motorists have to pay a gold price for oil. More families have years of savings in cars. The suction of the oil is not worth $ 50. There is plenty of oil.
Jerry Weber
Jerry Weber Jun 11, 2022 4:20PM ET
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You can thank the Paris Agreement to why the gas prices are so high! The world leaders have joined forces to dictate the prices working in cahoots with the oil companies and OPEC to push their agenda of renewable energy and electric vehicles. Your welcome, to what is really going on!
Imre Zsombor Varga
Imre Zsombor Varga Jun 11, 2022 4:20PM ET
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You are completely worldless. The economy will stop and millions of people will become homeless. The vicious transition has progressed so far. What you write indicates interest or high oil prices ...
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Jun 11, 2022 4:07PM ET
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LGB
Imre Zsombor Varga
Imre Zsombor Varga Jun 11, 2022 3:55PM ET
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Grandma, we're going to short the oil seriously. We will not allow this crisis to escalate. We look forward to Monday. I will not let society ruin you.
Ahsan Ishtiaq
Ahsan Ishtiaq Jun 11, 2022 3:20PM ET
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This means monday prices will be high or low
Sol Wein
Sol Wein Jun 11, 2022 3:17PM ET
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F J B
 
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