June 04, 2022
Drivers in Philadelphia aren't getting any breaks when it comes to gas prices.
A gallon was going for $5.01 on average in the city on Saturday, the highest price ever recorded. It rose 8 cents overnight, 56 cents over the past month and $1.85 over the past year, AAA reports.
The nation usually sees gas prices rise around the time school gets out and Memorial Day Weekend, as this is when many American families travel and go on vacation.
But this year the situation is much more complicated.
Two years into the pandemic, there's a particularly high level of pent-up demand for travel. People are eager to get out of the house and to return to their pre-pandemic traditions, including summer vacations.
“So far, the pent-up urge to travel caused by the pandemic outweighs high pump prices for many consumers,” AAA spokesperson Andrew Goss told USA Today.
But he said there's likely a limit to this. More than two-thirds of drivers surveyed said they would change their driving habits when prices hit $4.50 a gallon. That proportion rose to three-quarters at $5 a gallon.
Even if American consumers do drive less, the global demand for oil will likely continue to rise in the short term since China is currently coming out of its latest COVID-19 lockdown.
But on the supply side, oil reserves are dangerously low across North America, Europe and Asia, Bank of America reported last month.
One factor driving prices up is the war in Ukraine. More specifically, the new sanctions the European Union recently leveled against Russia.
At present, 75% of Russian oil is banned in Europe and that will rise to 90% by the end of the year. This means oil reserves will remain low, driving prices up on the supply side.
All of this means that prices will likely continue to rise nationwide. One analyst from J.P. Morgan predicted the average will reach $6.20 by Labor Day.
There are a few ways Philadelphia drivers can attempt to save money on gas
They could cross into New Jersey or Delaware, where prices are generally slightly lower.
In South Jersey, gas is going for $4.87 in the Philadelphia suburbs. That's up 8 cents overnight, 61 cents over the past month and $1.84 over the past year.
On Saturday afternoon, one the cheapest places to get gas in metro Philly was at the Citgo at 5252 Marlton Pike in Pennsauken, where a gallon of regular gas was going for $4.63, GasBuddy reported.
AAA has also compiled a list of fuel-saving tips for drivers. This includes measures like keeping your tires inflated, driving at or below the speed limit and consolidating trips.
But it could be worse. Gas is going for $9.60 a gallon Mendocino, California, which is more than $3 above the statewide average, the New York Post reports.