Drivers bemoan high gasoline prices with no relief in sight

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Just as Americans gear up for summer road trips, the price of oil remains stubbornly high, pushing prices at the gas pump to painful heights.

Drivers were paying $4.37 for a gallon of regular Tuesday, on average, according to AAA. That’s 25 cents higher than a month ago, and $1.40 more than a year ago. The average in Indianapolis was $4.38.

“The price of gas is ridiculous,” said Joel Baxter, a nurse, who was filling up his car at a BP station in Brooklyn, New York, so that he could commute 26 miles to work. “The money, your salary, is practically the same, and everything is going up, so they should do something about it.”

The high price of oil is the main cause of the biting gasoline prices. A barrel of U.S. benchmark crude was selling for around $100 a barrel Tuesday, a price tag that has been climbing throughout the year. The high price of oil is largely because many buyers are refusing to purchase Russian oil because of its invasion of Ukraine. The European Union is considering an embargo on oil from Russia, which is a major supplier. Those pressures leave less oil to go around.

Drivers such as Baxter say they wish the government could step in to help, although few can say what solution that would bring lasting relief.

“There are very few things that a president can do to help lower the cost of oil, and this administration tried to do pretty much everything that it can,” said Andrew Gross, spokesman for AAA.

President Joe Biden released oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in November and March, hoping to reduce prices. That helped temporarily, but prices shot back up and have stayed stubbornly high.

Biden in remarks Tuesday stressed that fighting inflation is his top priority, a sign of both the economic challenges caused by prices rising at the fastest pace in four decades and the political drag for Democrats that has resulted.

“I believe that inflation is our top economic challenge right now,” Biden said.

He said that switching away from fossil fuels and greater energy efficiency will ultimately protect Americans from higher gasoline and heating and cooling costs.

The president noted that Americans are finding ways to limit how many fill-ups they need because of higher prices. “They’re doing everything in their power to figure out how to not show up at the gas pump,” he said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said a suspension of the federal gas tax is “an option on the table.” The suspension could in theory reduce gas prices by as much as 18 cents a gallon.

Republican lawmakers say the key is to lease more federal land for oil and gas drilling and send a positive message to energy producers by greenlighting the Keystone XL pipeline that Biden nixed last year.

As the war Russia is waging on Ukraine continues and demand for gasoline continues to grow, experts are not expecting relief at the pump any time soon.

“We will see this trend continue probably throughout summer, mainly because of demand,” Gross said. “The weather’s getting warmer. The days are getting nicer. People are hitting the road.”

That’s particularly hard on people who drive for a living, or those who must drive to get to work.

“It’s expensive,” said Peter Lector, 28, who spent $60 Tuesday to fill up his tank in Brooklyn. “I’m doing Uber, so it’s costing me a lot of money every morning.”

If the price of gasoline keeps going up, he feels like he might have to find another job, he said.

Still others have accepted that high gasoline prices may be here to stay.

“It is what it is,” said David Stephen, who was also buying gasoline in Brooklyn. “Everything goes up, never comes down …. You can’t do anything about it.”

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8 thoughts on “Drivers bemoan high gasoline prices with no relief in sight

  1. Can we quit pretending it is a supply and demand issue when the gas companies are showing record 2-3x profits built on increased profit margins?

  2. I’m trying (and failing) to imagine an alternate universe where a Republican is in the chair and a spokesperson for AAA goes on record saying “golly gee, the president has tried everything, but there is nothing he can do and this is definitely not his fault!”

  3. Most of the US oil companies are still spooked by the beating they took when the economy totally tanked under Trump when he choose to ignore or politicize an active response to COVID, and oil prices when negative for a few days. They are very shy of over investing increasing production.

    Welcome to a glimpse of what the rest of the world has paid for years. It starts to explain why you almost never see an SUV in Europe.

    1. Even throughout most of the developed world, this is cheap! American fuel prices and taxes are a joke. It’s little wonder we can’t pay for anything.

    2. It wasn’t that Trump ignored the virus. It was the Dems over reacting and doing so intentionally.

      Yes, oil companies and lenders are hesitant to participate in a boom & bust
      industry as they had done so in the past.
      But they also see the handwriting on the wall.

      The federal government is trying to squash the oil companies to death by a
      thousand cuts.
      1). The Federal Reserve wanting to qualify loans to banks that do business
      with the fossil fuel industry.
      2). The EPA with their permitting regulations
      3) The government constantly trying to lower CO2 levels to unrealistic standards.
      4). The Securities & Exchange Commission qualifying listings by demanding the amount of C0 2 that a company emits and the companies that they do business
      5). Congressional Dems demanding that oil companies invest in renewables
      or alternative energy.

      6’). Dems in Cali demanding that EV make up an ever growing fleet of vehicles
      drove in their state.

      The reasons I listed are not the only reasons for high gasoline prices.
      But those reasons are and will cont8nue to play an ever greater role.

  4. The way I see it you either try to protect the environmental or destroy it. We have people doing both (constantly) so our planet makes very slow progress (less pollution). As someone that lives in Indy we mainly drive a PHEV vehicle. It’s the logical choice and the cheapest option. My neighbor? They drive TWO Ford Excursions everyday because they don’t care about pollution.