U.S. retail gasoline and diesel prices rallied to a record just ahead of the nation’s summer driving season, a challenge for President Joe Biden and the Federal Reserve as they face the fastest inflation in decades.
Average gasoline prices hit $4.374 a gallon, according to the American Automobile Association on Monday, May 9. Diesel also hit a record at $5.55. The surge is set to add to inflationary pressures gripping the world’s biggest economy. The U.S. summer driving season starts in about three weeks.
Oil has surged this year as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine upended commodity markets, jeopardizing the supply of fuels globally just as demand in most economies rebounds from the impact of the pandemic. That’s pushing up the prices of everything from motor fuel to food despite the Biden administration’s efforts to push back, including a giant release of crude from strategic reserves.
A key U.S. inflation print later this week will offer clues about the latest impact of price rises on the economy.
Fuel consumption is being monitored closely, with Americans expected to drive more this summer than in 2021 even as pricier gasoline limits some travel. The nation’s motorists are expected to use 9.2 million barrels of gasoline a day from April to September, up by 0.8 percent from the same period last year, the Energy Information Administration’s summer outlook showed last month.