Gas Prices Hit 7-Year High

SAN RAFAEL, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 05: Gas prices approaching $5 a gallon are displayed in front of a Circle K gas station on October 05, 2021 in San Rafael, California. Gas prices in the U.S. are continuing to rise to the highest level since 2014. According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline inched up to $3.20 over the last month, over $1 per gallon more than one year ago. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
October 6, 2021

Gas prices have reached a seven-year high, skyrocketing nearly 50 percent over the last year.

The national average price of gas on Wednesday hit $3.22, according to AAA, up from $2.18 just a year ago. The spike comes as oil prices have surged in recent weeks to their highest level since 2018. Analysts say the elevated energy prices can be attributed to a global shortage of natural gas, which has heightened demand for alternative fuel sources such as oil.

The increase in energy prices has worsened the economy's inflation, which is at a 13-year high. The price of energy commodities climbed nearly 42 percent over the last year, the Labor Department reported last month.

The Biden administration has faced criticism for the country's surge in energy costs. During his first days in office, President Joe Biden banned new natural gas and oil permits on federal lands and blocked construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would have expanded the U.S. oil supply. Nearly 80 percent of voters blame the president for the country's inflation hike, according to an August Fox News poll.

Some analysts warn energy prices will push inflation even higher in the winter months, when demand for fuel increases.

"I am actually getting quite concerned as we head into winter … we could see a very sharp spike in energy prices into the last quarter," Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA Asia Pacific Pte., told Bloomberg last month. "That may feed through into ever more inflation."