Today is Labor Day, and as Americans embark on their final summer outings, they are faced with gas prices that are nearing a record high. According to AAA, the national average for regular gas was an eye-watering $3.83 per gallon as of last Thursday. That’s a mere cent below the all-time Labor Day high of $3.84, set back in 2012.
You may remember that on Memorial Day this year, a mere three months ago, gas was a whole quarter cheaper at $3.58 per gallon. Even as recent as the Fourth of July, prices were at $3.55. “This is abnormal. Prices normally fade towards the end of the summer,” said John LaForge, head of real asset strategy at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.
Why the abnormal hike? Well, let’s look at the facts. OPEC nations, including Saudi Arabia, reduced oil production by a staggering one million barrels per day starting in July, causing crude oil prices to leap. For the average Joe or Jane, that means tightening your belt another notch when filling up your tank.
But wait, there’s more: in certain states like California, Illinois, Washington, and Arizona, prices have soared above the national average, crossing the $4 threshold. Let that sink in.
Now, let’s talk about accountability. The Biden administration has been quick to take credit when gas prices show the slightest dip, but remarkably reticent to own up when they skyrocket. And let’s not forget that President Biden made a flub last September when he claimed gas prices were below $2.99 in 41 states and the District of Columbia. In reality, prices were hovering under $3.99, a full dollar more. Subsequently, the White House corrected this, but the impression lingers: is the administration truly doing its best to alleviate the situation, or simply avoiding blame?
Contrast today’s prices with those on the eve of Biden taking office—$2.38 per gallon, according to AAA. It’s hard not to wonder how much the present administration has to do with these jacked-up prices, particularly as we roll into an election season where every issue, including gas prices, will be under the microscope.
Despite these dizzying costs, the American spirit remains undaunted. AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross said it best: “No matter how expensive gas prices are, when people decide to go on vacation, they just budget in the price of gas. They’re gonna take that trip.”
As Labor Day travel peaks, this surge in gas prices is yet another reminder that something needs to change. It’s a wake-up call for those in power to take action, whether that means negotiating with OPEC nations or revisiting domestic energy policies. After all, conserving our financial resources and holding leaders accountable are cornerstone principles that ensure the freedom to pursue our individual American dreams. Let’s not wait for another record-breaking Labor Day to address this.