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Elevated gas prices poised to rise more this summer

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(The Center Square) – Gas prices have been elevated in recent months heading into summer, when prices are expected to rise even more.

According to AAA, the average national price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.65 per gallon, up from $3.59 a month ago. The prices have fluctuated in recent days and are lower than the all-time high of $5.02 in the summer of 2022. However, prices overall have risen significantly this year and are on pace to rise more in the summer months.

Oil prices dipped about 6% last week before stabilizing this week and beginning to rise again. Prices have risen about half a dollar so far this year, and are much higher than when Biden took office at roughly $80 per barrel.

“That’s still about $30 above the average price during the Trump administration. Oil has not gone even higher because most economic signals indicate a slowing economy,” Daniel Turner, founder and executive director of Power the Future, an energy workers advocacy group, told The Center Square. “We have seen terrible job numbers, inflation, numbers, and economic indicators are signaling to markets that future demand will be down.

In recent weeks, prices have leveled out but are expected to rise this summer.

“Though it is great to see oil prices, stabilizing, and we hope they drop even significantly further, this is not happening because of positive news or robust production, but because we are headed into very dark economic times,” he continued.

Critics have blasted President Joe Biden’s energy policies as partly responsible for elevated energy costs.

“More regulation and higher taxes have caused drillers to reduce rig counts and focus on making each rig hyper-efficient to keep down costs,” E.J. Antoni, an expert at the Heritage Foundation, told The Center Square. “That strategy has been largely successful, which is why production has trended upward even as rig count and employment have declined. But we’re at the point where drillers cannot extract anymore per well than they are now, so any increase in production must come from overseas.”

Overseas production presents a problem now because two of the largest oil producing regions, the Middle East and Russia, are embroiled in war. Any expansion of the Israel-Hamas war to neighboring countries would likely spike prices as well.

“With so much chaos in the world right now, that has left the American consumer at the whims of rogue states and dictators,” Antoni continued. “Furthermore, the hostile tax and regulatory environment applies to refiners too, as well as other members of the gasoline supply chain. The higher costs imposed on them are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices at the pump.”

To help keep prices down earlier in his term, Biden depleted the U.S.’ Strategic Petroleum Reserves.

Antoni also blamed inflation, which has soared since Biden took office, for making going to the pump more painful for Americans. He predicted higher gas prices this summer.

“Going into the summer, we’ll likely see the typical seasonal demand spike, but supply will have a hard time keeping up,” Antoni told The Center Square.

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