The average price of a gallon of regular gas in the US was $4.96 according to the latest reading from AAA on Wednesday. It was the 12th day in a row, and the 29th time in the last 30 that gas had set a record in America.
For most of the country, $5 of gas is already there.
There are now 16 states plus Washington, D.C. averaging $5 or more. Idaho, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are the latest states to cross this line. California remains the highest priced, with a state average of $6.39 per gallon.
The statewide average rose at least a penny in every state except Florida, where prices remained essentially unchanged. As of Tuesday, 29% of the nation’s 130,000 gas stations were already selling gas for more than $5 a gallon.
The national average for gasoline could approach $6 by later this summer according to Tom Cluza, global head of energy analysis at OPIS, which tracks gas prices for AAA.
“Anything goes from June 20 to Labor Day,” Kloza said of gas demand, as people hit the road for long-awaited holidays. “Come to hell or high fuel prices, people will take vacations”
How much are drivers willing to pay before they cut back? So far, the number of gallons pumped into stations in the last week of May is only about 5% down from the same week last year, despite gas prices rising more than 50% over the same period. Car trips to the US are down about 5% since early May, according to mobility research firm Inrix, although those trips are still up about 5% since the start of the year.
The concern is that consumers will cut back on other spending to continue driving for the miles they want or need, which could push an economy that is already showing some signs of weakness into a recession.
– CNN’s Matt Egan contributed to this report
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