A significant proportion of American citizens have been forced to change their Fourth of July plans because of high gas prices, according to a recently released Emerson College Poll.
One in three respondents of the poll has changed their travel plans due to rising fuel costs, the poll states. Eighteen percent changed their plans due to issues with plane travel. The national average gas price across the United States remained elevated at $4.807 per gallon as of July 4. Though this is marginally down from the record $5.016 per gallon set on June 14, it is still $1.677 higher than the same time last year.
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, is predicting gas prices to continue declining for a couple more weeks, according to Morningstar. But beyond that, it would be hard to make a prediction as factors like hurricanes could push up prices once more, he added.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) is expecting 47.9 million people to travel 50 miles or more between June 30 and July 4. Though this is 3.7 percent higher than in 2021, it is marginally lower when compared to 2019.
In addition to gas, rising food prices will also make this year’s July 4 celebrations quite expensive. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, U.S. consumers will have to shell out $69.68 for a summer cookout for 10 people, up 17 percent, or around $10, from last year.
Biden and Gas Prices
The Biden administration has recently pivoted from blaming the high gas prices on Russia to oil producers and gas stations. In a July 2 tweet, Biden demanded that “companies running gas stations and setting prices … bring down the price you are charging at the pump” and to “do it now.”
An average gas station is estimated to have a profit margin of just 1.4 percent. Most of the profits made by the gas stations are on markups of products sold at their convenience stores.
In a series of tweets on July 3, California gubernatorial candidate Michael Shellenberger blamed the Biden administration for the elevated gas prices.
“Yesterday, Biden accused gas stations of over-charging, but their prices reflect the price of gasoline set by the market, and the market reflects the lack of supply which was created by Biden killing both oil & refinery expansion,” he wrote.
On May 12, the Interior Department blocked a proposal to open up over a million acres in Alaska for oil and gas drilling. The Environmental Protection Agency blocked plans to expand an oil refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands, two days later, Shellenberger pointed out.