Gasoline price skyrockets

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Just as Americans prepare for summer road trips, the price of oil remains stubbornly high, pushing gasoline prices to painful levels.

On Tuesday, drivers paid an average of $4.37 a gallon ($1.15 a liter) for regular gasoline, according to industry expert association AAA. That’s 25 cents more per gallon than a month ago and $1.40 more than a year ago.

“The price of gas is ridiculous,” said Joel Baxter, a nurse who filled his car at a BP station in Brooklyn, New York, so he could drive the 26 miles (42 kilometers) to work. “The money, your salary, is pretty much the same, and everything is going up, so they should do something about it.”

The high price of oil is the main cause of high gasoline prices. A barrel of the benchmark US crude was selling for about $100 on Tuesday, a price that has risen throughout the year. The high price of oil is largely due to many buyers refusing to buy Russian oil due to the invasion of Ukraine. The European Union is considering imposing an embargo on oil from Russia, which is a major supplier. With these pressures, the available oil is reduced.

Drivers like Baxter say they would like the government to do something to help, though few can think of a solution with lasting relief.

“There are few things a president can do to help lower the cost of oil, and this administration has tried just about everything it can,” said Andrew Gross, a spokesman for AAA.

President Joe Biden released oil from the Strategic Reserve in November and March, hoping to drive down the price. That helped temporarily, but prices have spiked again and remain elevated.

Biden stressed Tuesday that fighting inflation is his top priority, a sign of both the economic challenges caused by rising prices at the fastest pace in four decades and the political drag it has caused Democrats.

“I think inflation is currently our main challenge,” Biden said.

He added that moving away from fossil fuels and greater energy efficiency will ultimately protect Americans from higher costs for gasoline, heating and cooling.

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