Higher Oil Prices Could Squelch Mild Relief at the Pump

Off the Charts: The Visual Says It All

Young woman at self-service gas station.

romrodinka / Getty Images

The latest upswing in oil prices has put a damper on the tenuous relief drivers have been getting at the gas pump. In fact, the average cost of a gallon of gas nationally actually rose a small amount on Friday, the first increase in 14 days.

While prices for crude oil haven’t risen every day, they’ve generally been headed north again for over a week, making it less clear that the highs we’d seen in the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are behind us. It took nearly two weeks for a gallon of regular unleaded to fall 9 cents from its record high national average of $4.33 as daily declines slowed to a crawl and then stopped, according to data from AAA. As the chart below shows, gas prices react to oil prices (the main component of gas) on a significant lag, and that impacts consumers when prices are both falling and rising.

“If oil prices continue to rise, pump prices will likely follow suit, reversing course from the current downward trend,” AAA said in an analysis Thursday. 

The national average rose to $4.243 Friday, up less than 1 cent from $4.236 Thursday. It surged early this month, jumping 71 cents in the first 10 days after sanctions by the U.S. and its allies against Russian oil threatened to disrupt global supplies.

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  1. Yahoo Finance. “Crude Oil May 22 (CL=F) Stock Historical Prices & Data.”

  2. AAA. “AAA Gas Prices.”

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