Despite dropping significantly from their peak last summer, gas prices are surging across much of the country—an issue that’s likely to be a headache for President Joe Biden ahead of the 2024 election.
Nowhere in the U.S. are gas prices currently as high as in California, where it is generally more expensive because of heavy taxes aimed at reducing carbon emissions and the type of gas manufactured.
The average price of gas in California has remained consistently over the $5 mark over the past year, with a gallon of regular gas costing drivers $5.439 as of September 11, according to American Automobile Association (AAA). By comparison, the national average price for gas was $3.832 per gallon as of September 11, according to AAA.
But while Californians are used to high gas prices, other states have seen the cost for the fuel jump in a way they were not used to.
Nationwide, there’s been an average rise of 12 cents from last year, with 35 states reporting increases. Nine states have seen a jump of at least 30 cents during the past year, according to data from AAA as of September 10.
The nine states are Iowa (where prices are up 0.518 cents compared to this time last year), Oklahoma (up 0.443 cents), Washington (up 0.409 cents), Arizona (up 0.37 cents), Missouri (up 0.327 cents), North Dakota (up 0.321 cents), Arkansas (up 0.309 cents), Minnesota (up 0.306 cents) and Georgia (up 0.304 cents).
In Iowa, the average price of gas was $3.937 as of September 11. In Oklahoma, it was $3.772. In Arizona, it was $4.362, while in Missouri it was $3.649. In North Dakota, the average price of gas was $4.014 on Monday, while in Arkansas it was $3.478, in Minnesota $3.986 and in Georgia $3.564.
As of September 11, according to AAA, the average price of a gallon of gas in Washington was $5.066. A year ago today, the state reported an average price of $4.654.
Last year, high gas prices, driven up by rampant inflation as well as the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, proved to be a thorn in Biden’s side as voters felt the pinch at the pump.
Gas prices have dropped across the country since June 2022, when they reached a peak of an average $5.06 per gallon, but surged in August.
Expert Denton Cinquegrana, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service, told Newsweek that prices remain high across the country because “crude oil and gasoline prices in conjunction recently reached the highest levels of the year in the wholesale markets,” driving up prices in the U.S.
Crude oil prices have reached over $80 a barrel in August, up from about $70 in July. As of September 11, the price of crude oil was 86.73, according to OilPrice.com.
Another reason behind the price increase is the heat, with the high temperatures reached this summer across the country, and especially in the South, forcing many refineries to cut back on production.