Consumers are taking another huge hit in 2013. First, the two percent Social Security tax hike began the year. Now, gas prices are soaring ever closer to $4 a gallon and have jumped 51 cents a gallon since Dec. 20.
According to the Oil Price Information Service, the national average for a gallon of unleaded was $3.21.9 on Dec. 20, 2012. Today, that price is $3.73.0. While there has been a steady increase, prices shot almost 9 cents just over the weekend.
This President’s Day also marked a full month of rising gas prices every single business day, following a very small early year drop. Gas prices began rising Jan. 18, from $3.29.3-a-gallon, and have soared since. If this increase continues, gas prices could threaten or even top the all-time high price of $4.11, set in 2008.
February 2013 saw record high gas prices for the time of year according to news reports. CNBC noted the national average was the highest ever for the time of year on Feb. 1. As of Feb. 11, The Los Angeles Times reported that the national average that day ($3.587) was also a record, “7.8 cents higher than the record for Feb. 11, set last year.” Today’s price is now 17.6 cents higher than 2012.
It took the media some time to catch on to rising gas prices, as “Good Morning America’s” Josh Elliot said two weeks after the climb began that “we have just learned that gas prices have skyrocketed.”
Those higher pump prices hurt consumers, who were already paying more for gas than in decades. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported recently that the average household spent more on gas last year, as a percentage of income, than it had in 30 years.
The Hill’s Ben Geman wrote on Feb. 4, “the average household spent $2.912 for gasoline in 2012, which makes up almost 4 percent of pre-tax income, tying 2008 for the highest percentage in roughly 30 years.” The media actually forecast falling prices in 2012, during the heated presidential election. Many of those predictions failed.
Gas prices have been at sustained highs throughout much of President Obama’s time in office. Although there are many factors to gas prices, Heritage Foundation noted in August 2012, that “after three years of adding regulatory hurdles and blocking exploratory access and development, President Obama’s policies are helping keep prices higher than necessary.”