Friday, September 1, 2023

Rising Gasoline Prices Hit Inflation-Weary Americans; Gas Prices Soar 60 Cents Per Gallon Since Start of Year to Batter Inflation-Weary Drivers

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Rising Gasoline Prices Hit Inflation-Weary Americans:
U.S. consumers in recent weeks have seen gasoline prices tick up to reach their highest levels so far this year. The increase is leaving many with an unwelcome sense of déjà vu, recalling last summer’s record gasoline prices.
Prices have retreated slightly in recent days but remain elevated. A gallon of regular gasoline averaged about $3.82 nationally on Sunday, about 60 cents higher than at the beginning of the year, according to OPIS, an energy-data and analytics provider. Diesel prices are down about 31 cents compared with early January but have gained more than 40 cents from a month ago.
The ascent of oil prices could complicate the Federal Reserve’s effort to lower inflation to 2%, economists say.
The increase is already weighing on small-business owners. Companies are delaying upgrades, losing workers or avoiding hiring extra help and moving to charge customers more as a result of higher fuel prices.
In the past few months, the Moving Company, a mover in Springfield, Mo., lost three drivers in part because higher fuel prices made their commute more expensive, said Will Wheeler, a controller at the company.
Meanwhile, the company increased its mileage charge by $4 earlier this year because of higher fuel prices and might add another $3 on top of that, Wheeler said. The hike has contributed to turning some customers away.
“We’ve lost a lot of business,” Wheeler said.
The fluctuations in gas prices are whipsawing households and businesses.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year sent U.S. oil prices soaring past $120 a barrel, and the price of gasoline past the $5 mark, prompting the Biden administration to tap the emergency petroleum reserve in a bid to tame inflation. --->READ MORE HERE
Gas prices soar 60 cents per gallon since start of year to batter inflation-weary drivers:
Inflation-battered drivers are being forced to dig deeper into their wallets as gas prices creep up at the pump ahead of Labor Day weekend.
Gas prices, which have been steadily climbing in recent weeks, have neared $4 a gallon — soaring roughly 60 cents since the start of the year — as travelers get ready to hit the road for the unofficial end-of-summer holiday getaway.
The national average price of a gallon of regular gasoline stood at $3.82 as of Monday — 9 cents higher than a month ago and just 3 cents shy of last year’s average, according to the American Automobile Association.
At the start of the year, the average retail gas price stood at $3.33 — and hit $3.98 last week before slightly dipping.
The pain at the pump felt by drivers could complicate the Federal Reserve’s calculus as it weighs whether to keep hiking interest rates to rein in inflation when the central bankers meet next month.
Inflation has fallen well off its four-decades peak hit last year but remains stubbornly above the Fed’s 2% target rate at 3.2%. The core CPI — a key gauge monitored by the Fed which excludes volatile food and energy prices — rose 0.2% in July from a month ago, matching the 0.2% increase in June.
“Americans need to remember first and foremost that gas prices aren’t included in the inflation numbers which is why there is a big disconnect with gas prices and food from the inflation numbers people see on television,” Ted Jenkin, the co-founder of Exit Stage Left Advisors, told The Post on Monday.
Experts attribute the rise in gas prices to global supply production cuts and impacts of this summer’s extreme heat on refineries. --->READ MORE HERE
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