Chris Lange, FISM News
National average gas prices are on pace to surpass $6 by August, according to a recent JP Morgan research note, Fox News reports.
By late summer, analysts at the firm say Americans can expect to pay an average of $6.20 per gallon. Regular gas prices in Los Angeles and San Francisco already shot past $6 this week.
The national average on Wednesday broke records, soaring to $4.56 per gallon, according to AAA – up $1.52 from one year ago and marked the first time in U.S. history that the average cost for a gallon of gas topped $4 in all 50 states.
JP Morgan analysts said the predicted increases are the result of “expectations of strong driving demand” throughout the summer driving season from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
“Typically, refiners produce more gasoline ahead of the summer road-trip season, building up inventories,” the analysts said. However, since mid-April, “gasoline inventories have fallen counter seasonally and today sit at the lowest seasonal levels since 2019,” the analysts continued, pointing out that” gasoline balances on the East Coast have been even tighter, drawing to their lowest levels since 2011.”
Biden energy officials have said that they expect gas prices to continue to rise over the next several months and do not expect gas prices to fall below an average of $4 a gallon for at least the rest of the year.
As Americans continue to struggle with unprecedented fuel costs and inflation, the Biden administration continues to face backlash for holding up domestic production, including last week’s decision to cancel major oil and gas lease sales in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and other Republican senators sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo this week demanding that she address and reverse delays on existing oil and gas leases to boost production.
“While the Biden Administration and Members of Congress fault the domestic oil and gas industry for sitting idle on over 9,000 drilling permits and millions of acres in ‘inactive leases,’ NMFS’s permitting delays represent one example of the Administration’s de facto ban on new drilling – impeding domestic oil and gas investment, exploration, and production,” the senators wrote.
The lawmakers assert that the delays are due, in large part, to “three administration-made and admitted mistakes” caused by calculation errors in determining the number of endangered species in the Gulf of Mexico. The incorrect figures were reportedly used in a 2021 Final Rule controlling offshore oil and gas exploration.
The senators called on Secretary Raimondo to move expeditiously to correct the errors and develop “tangible short-term solutions to stop any further permitting delays,” including shifting resources to “process permits under alternative mechanisms.”
“It is unacceptable that agency miscalculations have restricted access to safe, secure, and reliable domestic oil and gas production through substantial, unnecessary, and arbitrary permitting delays,” the senators added.