Gas Prices Near All Time High This Labor Day

Price tags at the pump are close to an all-time high as drivers hit the road this Labor Day weekend.

The national average price tag for regular gas sat at $3.83 a gallon as of Thursday, according to AAA, when many holiday travelers were expected to start their drives.

Thursday’s price is just under the Labor Day record set in 2012 of $3.84 a gallon, federal data dating back to 1990 shows.

Back on Memorial Day at the end of May, the national average price for regular gas was 25¢ lower at $3.58 a gallon. Just before the Fourth of July, when millions of drivers traveled for the holiday, the average price was even lower at $3.55 a gallon.

“This is abnormal. Prices normally fade towards the end of the summer,” John LaForge, head of real asset strategy at the Wells Fargo Investment Institute, told CNN

Several factors have contributed to rising gas prices, including OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia slashing oil production earlier this summer. The Saudis cut oil production by one million barrels per day starting in July, which caused crude oil prices to jump.

In some states, gas prices are even higher than the national average.

Eleven states have average prices of over $4 a gallon or more, according to AAA, including California, Illinois, Washington, and Arizona

Previously, the Biden administration has taken credit for the occasional dip in gas prices even as prices remained high and Americans struggled to keep up with the cost.

A year ago in September, President Biden claimed falsely that the average gas price was down to less than $2.99 in 41 states and the District of Columbia. In fact, the average gas price at the time was only under $3.99, not $2.99.After news outlets pointed out the error, the White House corrected the official transcript of Biden’s remarks to read the correct figure of $3.99.

Critics have called on Biden to take responsibility when gas prices rise, but the administration has not been eager to do so. Some have also pointed out that the national average gas price the day before Biden took office was $2.38 according to AAA, over a dollar less than Thursday’s $3.83 average.

With election season kicking into gear, gas prices will start to feature more prominently in the political conversation, especially the question of whether the Biden administration plays a role in keeping prices high.

Labor Day holiday travelers have already begun hitting the road. Thursday was expected to be the busiest day on the roads for the holiday weekend.

More than half of all Americans are expected to travel for Labor Day this year, including millions by car. Experts say high gas prices will not deter holiday travelers.

“No matter how expensive gas prices are, when people decide to go on vacation, they just budget in the price of gas,” AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross told CBS News.

“They’re gonna take that trip,” he said.

The demand for travel is partially a result of pandemic, with more people wanting to travel this summer now that more COVID restrictions are lifted, according to analysts.

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