"Incredible transition" update: Get ready for new gas-price records this weekend

You’d better hope that your Memorial Day plans don’t include a trip to the gas station, or that your credit score will withstand the impact if they do. Before we get to just how high it will get, let’s see where we’re at as of today. The average price per gallon in the US across all formulations, as measured by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), is $4.694 as of last Monday. That’s up ten cents from the previous week, 27 cents from two weeks ago, and 41 cents from the beginning of the month.


Want to guess where it will be when everyone takes their car trips over the holiday?

The AAA projects that demand will still rise this weekend, despite the high prices. We can thank the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions for our wanderlust, even while prices skyrocket to all-time highs:

AAA just did an analysis of travel trends for the holiday weekend. More than 39 million people are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home, an increase of 8.3% over last year.

“Usually, if Memorial Day is busy, the summer will be busy, and it’s looking very busy indeed,” Robert Sinclair Jr., of AAA Northeast, told CBS News New York. “For the rest of spring, on into summer, and even fall, we’re seeing travel bookings that are up 25 to 50%.”

Gas prices are sky-high, and prices throughout the Tri-State are above the national average. The average price per gallon in New York City is $5.04, in New Jersey is $4.76 and in Connecticut is $4.68.

“Despite the fact that gasoline is at near all-time highs, folks are taking advantage of having some extra time off and getting out there and trying to do something. They’ve been cooped up for a couple years, so there’s just like wanderlust that’s gripping the nation,” Sinclair said.

We can probably look forward to a massive hike in the price by the next iteration from the EIA, either on Monday or on Tuesday if the data is delayed by the holiday. It’s simple economics: demand keeps increasing while supply remains limited. Despite Joe Biden’s efforts to get more production out of other “pariah” countries rather than our own, there just isn’t any more to give, says Saudi Arabia:


Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said there’s nothing more the kingdom can do to tame oil markets, implying that the world’s biggest crude exporter has no plan to accelerate its gradual production increases.

“As far as we are aware there is no shortfall of oil,” Prince Faisal bin Farhan said, speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “We have to be sure that while we transition to a renewable future, there is enough energy in the market. The kingdom has done what it can.”

Prince Faisal was responding to a question about what the US, which has put pressure on the Saudis and other members of OPEC+ to pump faster, could offer Riyadh in return for more crude. His comments echoed those of Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman, who said in an interview this month that a refining crunch was to blame for soaring fuel prices.

“It’s much more complex than just bringing barrels to the market,” Prince Faisal said. “Our assessment is that actually oil supply right now is relatively in balance.”

It’s in balance for the Saudis, who now stand to profit off of American policies that will limit exploration, extraction, and refinery capacity. They’re already profiting off of it, in fact, while accelerating their own production to new highs:

Saudi Arabia’s oil exports reached $30 billion in March, the highest in at least six years, driven by a rally in oil prices and rising production.

The value of crude exports, now almost $1 billion a day, increased by 123% year on year, the kingdom’s statistics office said.

Saudi Arabia’s crude production rose to 10.3 million barrels a day in March, with Brent oil prices averaging $112 a barrel. Prices have jumped almost 50% this year, mostly due to the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The higher revenues helped the kingdom post a 57.5 billion riyal ($15 billion) budget surplus between January and March. It will be one of the fastest-growing large economies in the world this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.


Isn’t it interesting that the Saudis will end up with one of the world’s fastest-growing economies by producing oil, while we had a -1.5% GDP in the first quarter of this year while restricting our own. Why, it’s almost as if the two might be related in some way.

At any rate, enjoy your weekend, and be sure to check to see if credit-union loans for gasoline might offer better terms than traditional lenders. When you faint at the sight of the final price for a fill-up, remember that not only did Joe Biden do this, he absolutely intended to force gas prices to rise astronomically. It’s all part of his “incredible transition,” after all.

Final question: how much will the EIA average rise by the next report? I’ll set the marker at 20 cents … but I’ll take the over on it. I discussed this with Amy Jacobson and Paul Valla on our Salem affiliate WIND 560 The Answer this morning, too.

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