Los Angeles has achieved the dubious distinction of becoming the first US city to pass $6 per gallon for gas on average, as soaring fuel costs continue to hammer West Coast drivers.
On Tuesday, the average for a gallon of regular gas in Los Angeles hit a record $6.011, even as the national average continued to decline slightly from the all-time high earlier this month, according to the AAA Gas Price Index.
Even as drivers elsewhere see moderate relief at the pump, California has continued to be hammered by rising gas prices, with the Golden State setting a new record-high average of $5.866 on Tuesday.
Nationwide, the average price of gas stood at $4.242, down slightly from the record high of $4.331 set on March 11.
Gas prices are displayed at a gas station in Los Angeles County earlier this week. LA is now the first city in the nation to top $6 a gallon average prices for regular gas
State average gas prices are seen across the US as of Tuesday
Experts at GasBuddy said that Tuesday’s prices in Los Angeles marked the first major US city to reach $6 gas.
California, which has strict regulations and higher-than-average state taxes on gas, tends to lead the nation in fuel prices.
That trend has continued in recent weeks, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted world oil markets. But even though the price of crude oil has fallen about $20 from its peak earlier this month, California gas prices have continued to rise.
On Tuesday, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude was trading at around $112 per barrel, down from a recent peak of $130. For every $10 increase in the price of oil, a gallon of gas rises about 20 cents.
Experts say that demand for gasoline has declined in recent weeks, defying normal seasonal trends, perhaps due to the eye-watering prices at the pump.
‘Usually this time of year, with warmer weather and longer days, we’d see an uptick in gasoline demand as more people hit the road,’ said AAA spokesman Andrew Gross on Monday.
Nationwide, the average price of gas stood at $4.25 on Monday, down slightly from the record high of $4.331 set on March 11
A driver fills gasoline for his vehicle at a Mobil station in Los Angeles Thursday, March 10, 2022
‘But we had a slight drop in demand last week, which may be due to higher pump prices. In our new survey of drivers, 59 percent said they would change their driving habits or lifestyle if the cost of gas hit $4 per gallon,’ he added.
‘And if gas were to reach $5, which it has in the Western part of the country, three-quarters said they would need to adjust their lifestyle to offset the pump price,’ said Gross.
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said that while prices could continue to taper nationally this week, drivers could be in for more pain at the pump as the summer driving season gets underway.
‘For now, gasoline demand has shown absolutely no signs of buckling under the pressure of higher prices, even as California nears an average of $6 per gallon, with spring break travel well underway,’ said De Haan in a statement on Monday.
‘If the situation does worsen, with more oil being kept away from global markets, it’s not impossible that gas prices would still have to climb a considerable amount for Americans to start curbing their insatiable demand for gasoline,’ he added.
Gas prices in Westchester are above six dollars as prices at the pump continue to raise across the Southland on Sunday in Los Angeles
Meanwhile, a new poll shows that most Americans blame President Joe Biden for the recent increase in gas prices, a troubling figure for Democrats ahead of the midterm election and a sign the administration’s drive to push the blame on Vladimir Putin isn’t working.
Roughly 39% in a new Emerson College poll said Biden was to blame for the pain at the pump, while 21% blamed the gas sanctions on Russia, 18% blamed gas companies, and 9% blamed supply chain issues.
The results show that approximately the same number of voters blame President Biden and the Russian sanctions and oil companies combined.
Biden and his administration has continually blamed the coronavirus pandemic and Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine for the high inflation.
‘Let’s be absolutely clear about why prices are high now are high for two reasons. One was COVID – the way the global economy works,’ he said in remarks to the National League of Cities last Monday.
‘Now a second big reason for inflation is Vladimir Putin,’ he noted. ‘Make no mistake – the current spiking gas prices largely the fault of Vladimir Putin.