(CNN) – Millions of Americans traveling this holiday weekend are being greeted by unprecedented prices at the gas pump.
The national average for regular gasoline hit a new record high of $4.62 a gallon on Monday, according to AAA. That’s up a penny from Sunday and 44 cents more than a month ago.
Gas prices are up sharply from last Memorial Day, when they averaged $3.05 a gallon, according to AAA.
Seven states now consume an average of $5 per gallon of gas, the last being Illinois (rounding up to $4,996). New York and Arizona are just pennies away from reaching that milestone. And there are no states where gasoline prices average below $4.10 a gallon.
Despite high prices, AAA estimates that 34.9 million people are traveling by car this holiday weekend, up 4.6% from last year.
Even after adjusting for inflation, gasoline prices are very high.
Real (ie, inflation-adjusted) gasoline prices haven’t been this high before Memorial Day weekend since 2012, according to the US Energy Information Administration. The all-time high for inflation-adjusted average gasoline prices was set in June 2008 at $5.38 per gallon.
Soaring gas prices reflect strong demand as people ramp up their summer travel plans and weak supply caused by a confluence of factors, including the disruption caused by the war in Ukraine and the fact that the United States and OPEC are pumping less oil than before Covid-19.
Another factor: after a series of retirements, US refineries are struggling to meet growing demand for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.
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