Gas prices have more than tripled in the last 18 months—and are likely to go higher

October 11, 2021, 3:41 PM UTC

You’re not imagining things. The price of gas is getting absurd. Unfortunately, it’s going to go even higher before things get better—and there’s no telling where the ceiling might be.

The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded stands at $3.27, according to AAA. That’s $1.09 more than a year ago, when most people were long past the stay-at-home orders of the pandemic. And it’s a 10-cent increase over a month ago.

To put things in perspective, last March, the price of gas fell below $1 per gallon.

It’s even higher in some states. California, for example, is currently averaging $4.44 per gallon, with some counties hitting as high as $4.65.

Meanwhile, crude oil prices continue to balloon, recently topping $80 for the first time in eight years. As of 10:14 a.m. ET, the price of crude stood at $81.27. Since last November, crude oil has seen the biggest price increases of any commodity, by a long shot.

An energy crisis in Europe and Asia is driving those increases, but rising demand for gas in the U.S. is playing a role too. Crude oil supplies are also constricted, which is affecting prices as well.

It’s a big bounce back for crude, which fell as low as $16.94 in April 2020. And a little under two months ago, prices were just over $62.

How do commodity prices impact your wallet? The price of crude oil accounts for about 67% of the per-gallon gas price, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Other factors, such as taxes, vary by state, of course, which can result in large variations in prices from state to state.

Look no further than the states that saw the largest increases last week. Gas prices in Kentucky and Indiana shot up 15 cents, while North Carolina and Virginia saw only 7 cent increases.

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