Things are slowly going from bad to worse, folks, and that’s especially true if you currently have the misfortune of owning a diesel vehicle. You see, according to AAA, the national average price for a gallon of diesel is now $5.51. That’s good enough for the all-time record. In fact, it’s the fifth record in the past five days. It’s up three cents from yesterday, alone. Not great. All in all, diesel is up $2.41 from a year ago.
Things aren’t much better when you look at gasoline, either. The average price for a gallon of regular gas now sits at $4.28. That’s also up three cents from yesterday. We’re now just six cents away from breaking the current gas-price record set on March 11 of this year. Compare today’s number with the average from a year ago, and it’s ballooned $1.34.
On top of all of this, natural gas prices are also soaring, according to Reuters, in large part because of huge demand at natural gas-burning electricity plants. We just cannot catch a break, man. You can thank climate change for this!
U.S. natural gas prices are surging, with the benchmark futures contract rising to a 13-year high of $8.74 per million British thermal units, at a time when that fuel’s price tends to dip due to lack of demand in the spring.
But analysts say a number of factors have combined to boost the cost of gas, which has risen about 90% since the beginning of March. Here is what is happening:
Simply put, it is hotter than normal in many parts of the United States. Power generators rely on gas to produce electricity, which is used by consumers and businesses to cool buildings.
Weather in Houston, the biggest city in Texas, is expected to reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 Celsius) over the weekend, or about 15 degrees F higher than normal for this time of year.
Cooling demand in Northern California spiked earlier this week as well, and people responded by turning on air conditioners. Spot prices – the cost to buy gas in specific locations – spiked in several spots, including the Henry Hub benchmark in Louisiana as well as in California, Pennsylvania and Chicago.
The gas market is getting caught up in the frenzy that has hit the oil, fuel and coal markets as countries scramble to make sure they have enough reliable energy in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia is the world’s biggest exporter of crude and fuel and is also the biggest exporter of natural gas.
With fewer exports of Russian energy, countries in Europe and elsewhere are trying to secure supply.
The spring is the optimal moment for natural gas utilities to sock away gas in preparation for cold months which are two seasons away. But that hasn’t happened, in part due to rising overseas demand and worry about additional curtailment of global energy supply.
Everything is bad. Even things we didn’t know were bad, are bad.
And with that, let’s take a look at who’s paying the most and least for gas around the country.
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Here is the highest average gas prices in the country in order of highest price for a gallon regular:
- California – $5.79 Regular | $5.98 Mid | $6.11 Premium | $6.50 Diesel
- Hawaii – $5.28 Regular | $5.50 Mid | $5.74 Premium | $5.83 Diesel
- Nevada – $5.12 Regular | $5.34 Mid | $5.54 Premium | $5.47 Diesel
- Washington – $4.77 Regular | $4.97 Mid | $5.15 Premium | $5.67 Diesel
- Oregon – $4.69 (nice) Regular | $4.93 Mid | $5.14 Premium | $5.56 Diesel
Here is the lowest average price of gasoline in the country in order of lowest price per gallon of regular:
- Georgia – $3.79 Regular | $4.16 Mid | $4.50 Premium | $5.10 Diesel
- Missouri – $3.87 Regular | $4.12 Mid | $4.40 Premium | $5.19 Diesel
- Arkansas – $3.88 Regular | $4.18 Mid | $4.49 Premium | $5.27 Diesel
- Mississippi – $3.88 Regular | $4.18 Mid | $4.52 Premium | $5.17 Diesel
- Oklahoma – $3.88 Regular | $4.17 Mid | $4.38 Premium | $5.30 Diesel