Record gas prices expected to get worse

Whether you're planning for a holiday trip, or just getting to work, the cost of gasoline remains at a record level.

AAA reports the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $4.59. In Texas, it's $4.28.

Both figures are significantly higher than a week, a month, and a year ago. Sadly, experts expect it to get worse.

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At a Richmond gas station, Blake fills his truck at least once a week. Even at the relative-bargain price of $4.12, he says the budget-bite is hard to ignore.

"It's definitely making me think about the choices that I have, and where I should go to get the prices," he says.

Houston oil analyst Andy Lipow says there is little "good news" to be found in the industry, for consumers.

"There is not a single state in the United States, where gasoline prices are averaging below $4 a gallon," Lipow says.

He projects gasoline will rise to $4.75, nationally, as the growing ban on Russian oil keeps global crude prices high, while domestic supplies get tighter.

"Over the last several weeks and months, we've seen crude oil, gasoline and diesel fuel inventories, nationwide, decline," says Lipow. "In fact, for this time of year, gasoline inventories are at their lowest level since 2014."

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With those tight supplies, Lipow says there is little room for disruption before consumers face significant financial pinch beyond what they already have.

"I'm concerned as we go into the summer, and Americans take to the road, increasing their demand for gasoline, that inventories will continue to get tighter," he says. "Especially in light of the fact that we have a hurricane season ahead of us, that's expected to be quite active."

Since the summer of 2020, the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve has released about 100 million barrels of oil into the system, with little effect on price in a country that uses almost 20 million barrels a day.

Andy Lipow believes more oil production is the only thing that will meet demand, while cooler global tensions are needed to help lower the price of oil.