As the price at the gas pump continues to climb to new heights, people all over the country are feeling its impact in myriad ways.
“I drive 86 miles a day round trip, back and forth to work,” Tim MacIver, who works in the hotel industry in Florida, told the Washington Examiner. “It's killing me.”
Rural Tennessean Doug Garrett similarly lamented, “It’s taking a huge chunk of my paycheck.”
California illustrator Ian Miller’s day-to-day experience is a bit better, but he noted that there are still gaseous complications in his life.
“I live in the SF bay area where gas is $6 per gallon on average, but I've had a hybrid, and I can walk or take public transit most places,” he said. “I also only need to be in the office one day a week. The rest is remote.”
Miller added, “Globally, though, I've been affected by higher costs of groceries and products. Air travel has also gotten really expensive, causing my fiancee and I to delay our wedding plans.”
Christy Horpedahl of Arkansas recently received a ”$5 fuel surcharge on a plumbing bill from an in-town plumber,” furnishing the receipt to prove it.
Michael Giberson of Arizona said he is “driving less, thinking about the cost of gasoline before going places, buying less than a full tank in hopes that the price will drop, buying midgrade instead premium on alternate purchases,” and also “cursing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
Matt Benoit, a journalist and comedian in Whatcom County, Washington, said the rising prices have made him “more mindful of how much fuel a road trip will cost and how much I consume in fuel weekly.”
Benoit has been considering “how often I spend time at my dad's, 30 miles out of town, and how much time I spend in Bellingham. Also how willing I am to travel for comedy if there's no pay.”
The national average gas price on May 18, was $4.56 for regular unleaded, a new record, according to AAA.
The price was much higher in some states because of fuel blend laws and high gas taxes.
The lowest average statewide price to be found on that date was $4.02 per gallon in Kansas. The highest was $6.05 in California.
Philip Rossetti, a senior fellow of energy studies at the R Street Institute, said the gas price spike has many stubborn causes.
"Russia is a major oil and gas producer, and the past month has been ringing all the alarm bells that you can't separate your trade relationship from your human rights stance,” he told the Washington Examiner. “As Europe and others are trying to get off Russian oil, this is raising demand from other suppliers.”
He added, “Combine that with the usual summer demand increases, post-COVID travel demand, OPEC refusing to increase output, and China easing lockdowns, and it's all high demand and short supply.”
Nor does Rossetti see any relief in sight, unless there is a concerted effort to increase oil production.
“This dynamic isn't going away anytime soon, and the best hope for near-term relief is increased production from the U.S. and its allies," he said.
The gas crunch happened at a time when America was already experiencing serious supply chain problems, and it only seems to have added additional costs and complications.
For example, pizza delivery companies, such as Domino’s, are having a hard time recruiting enough drivers to get customers their pizzas. Domino's is advertising an incentive program to get more customers to come to the stores and pick up the pizzas themselves.
Ride-share companies are increasing prices for customers and compensation for drivers who use their own vehicles, but it's not fast enough to keep up with the ever-rising gas prices. Consequently, many Uber customers and drivers are simultaneously complaining that prices are too high and the fares are hardly worth it.
Many who drive vehicles with great fuel economy are prone to celebrate. However, the car market has been hit with so much supply chain turbulence over the past few years that it is hard to tell exactly what is going on with car buyers today.
The Washington Examiner asked Rich Hartman, who has stakes in several car dealerships, if he has seen car buyers looking for more fuel economy in vehicles lately.
"Yes, but nowhere near as they did the last time the gas prices went up," he said. "There is still strong demand for trucks and SUVs."