US gasoline prices continued to rise Thursday as consumer inflation climbed to its highest level in more than 40 years, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency.
The national average stood at $4.318 per gallon for regular gasoline, up from $4.252 on Tuesday, when it reached its highest level since July 2008, figures from the American Automobile Association (AAA) showed.
The price of regular gasoline saw an increase of 15.8% from a week ago, when it stood at $3.728 a gallon.
It marked a whopping 24.2% monthly increase however from $3.477 last month and a 53.4% rise from $2.815 a year ago, according to the compiled data.
The highest price was recorded in the state of California at $5.694 per gallon, while the lowest price was in Kentucky at $4.042.
President Joe Biden on Tuesday imposed a ban on US imports of crude oil, natural gas and coal from Russia, some of the key energy ingredients in Russian state revenue.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Wednesday that the US is on a “war footing” and told energy executives “that means you producing more right now, where and if you can.”
“We are in an emergency, and we have to responsibly increase short-term supply where we can right now to stabilize the market and minimize harm to American families,” she said at the CERAWeek energy conference held in Houston, Texas.
Annual consumer inflation rose 7.9% in February, marking the largest 12-month increase since January 1982, the Department of Labor said earlier.
On an annual basis, the indices for energy, gasoline, natural gas and electricity were up 25.6%, 38%, 23.8% and 9%, respectively.
Crude prices, however, dipped after Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier that his country is fulfilling all obligations to supply energy resources to Europe and other regions of the world.
Brent crude was trading at $109 a barrel with a 1.9% loss, while US benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude was at $105.6, down 2.8%.
Russia is one of the three major oil-producing and exporting countries in the world along with the US and Saudi Arabia.
It is also a member of OPEC+, which includes Saudi Arabia-led OPEC and its allies.
OPEC+ met Wednesday and agreed to stick to their plan of ramping up production by 400,000 barrels per day through April.
A prolonged war in Ukraine, or its spillover to other regions, in addition to sanctions on the Russian oil sector and exports could push crude and gasoline prices even higher.
Rising energy prices, however, are not just a result of crude oil prices, as natural gas and Europe’s overdependence on Russia play a crucial part.
Europe’s high energy dependence on Russia has been a major point in American energy policy recently, while the US has increased its liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports in the last six years.
While Europe imports around 40% of its natural gas from Russia, the US aims to replace this with its own LNG exports.
Cheniere Energy, located in Houston, Texas, was one of the first American companies to export US LNG in early 2016. It reached an agreement with France’s Engie SA earlier this week.
Cheniere announced Wednesday that Engie has agreed to purchase approximately 0.9 million tons per annum of LNG for a term of approximately 20 years.
This “reflects the importance of a diverse and reliable long-term supply of natural gas for Europe and reinforces the value the LNG market places in Cheniere’s commitment to climate and sustainability initiatives,” it said.
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