There's no question that drivers in the United States are feeling pain at the fuel pump. The national daily average for gasoline is now $4.17 according to AAA. The weekly average hit $4.10 according to the latest data from US Energy Information Administration, updated on March 7. The weekly figure represents an astounding jump of 50 cents compared to the previous week, and a full $1.31 more than drivers paid this time last year.
A map at AAA's website shows the lowest prices spread throughout the central portion of the country, spanning the Great Plains from Texas through North Dakota where average costs are still below $4.00. The highest prices are found in California, where AAA reports an average of $5.44 per gallon for regular grade. Focusing on specific cities with Gas Buddy, we found reports of premium fuel exceeding $6.00 per gallon in many California locations.
The news is even worse for diesel fuel. Per the US Energy Information Administration, the national weekly average for on-highway diesel jumped 75 cents to $4.849 a gallon. That's also a record high, squeaking past the previous record of $4.845 set back in July of 2008. As with gasoline, diesel prices are generally lowest in the Great Plains and Midwest with prices in the $4.60 range. California diesel drivers are facing average prices of $5.76.
Instability in the market due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine is driving oil prices to near-record levels. In July 2008, oil reached $147 a barrel and today's prices are closing in on that mark. Two days ago, Brent crude spiked at $139 before settling at $123 to close the session. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crested $130 in the same session before setting at $119.40. Presently, Brent is trending upwards around $126 a barrel, with WTI in the $122 range. The increase comes on the announcement from President Biden that the United States is banning all Russian energy imports, including oil.
Sources: US Energy Information Administration, AAA