ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The reality of $5 per gallon gas may arrive sooner rather than later.
After hitting fresh highs around $4.75 per gallon about a week ago, average gasoline prices are poised to climb even higher, analysts project. The crowd-sourced GasBuddy says gas prices in Tampa have risen by about 17 cents per gallon in the past week.
"After a blistering week of gas prices jumping in nearly every town, city, state and area possible, more bad news is on the horizon. It now appears not if, but when, we'll hit that psychologically critical $5 national average," Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy said in a statement.
"Gasoline inventories continue to decline even with demand softening due to high prices, a culmination of less refining capacity than we had prior to Covid and strong consumption, a situation that doesn't look to improve drastically anytime soon."
It costs about $71 to fill an average-sized 15-gallon fuel tank — that's about $29 more than what drivers paid a year ago, according to AAA. A spokesperson for the auto group says "it wouldn't be a surprise" to see gas stations raise prices another 20 cents by Monday night given the strong gains gasoline made in the futures market recently.
Factors weighing on higher futures prices include the European Union's Russian oil ban, increased demand for fuel after China lifted COVID-19 restrictions and falling gasoline supply domestically, AAA said.
"At this rate, it sure seems like there's very little resistance to rising prices at the pump, and $5 a gallon is quickly becoming a very real possibility this summer," spokesperson Mark Jenkins continued in a statement.