Nationwide average for gallon of gas reaches new high: $5

A man fills up his vehicle at a gas station
Chris Huang, 30, gets gas at a station in downtown Los Angeles.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The nationwide average price for a gallon of gasoline reached a new high of $5 on Saturday, according the American Automobile Assn.

Motorists in some parts of the country, especially California, are paying far above that.

The national average price has jumped 19 cents in the last week, and it’s up $1.93 from this time last year.

There are several reasons for the surge in gasoline prices.

Americans typically drive more starting around Memorial Day, so demand is up. Global oil prices are rising, compounded by sanctions against Russia, a leading oil producer, because of its war on Ukraine. And there are limits on refining capacity in the United States because some refineries shut down during the pandemic.


Add it all up, and the cost of filling up is draining money from Americans who are facing the highest rate of inflation in 40 years.

Gas prices in Los Angeles are 17 cents higher than a week ago and 55 cents higher than a month ago, according to the AAA.

California has the highest average price, at $6.43, according to AAA. The lowest average is in Mississippi, at $4.52.

While this is the first time reaching $5, it’s still not a record when inflation is taken into account. Gas peaked at $4.11 a gallon in July 2008, which would be equal to about $5.40 a gallon today.