Memorial Day gas prices hit 10-year high adjusted for inflation

May 27, 2022, 4:09 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 3:14 pm

(CNN) — Gas prices are painfully high this Memorial Day weekend as millions of Americans hit the road for the unofficial start of summer.

The $4.60-a-gallon average price for regular gas an all-time high — and pump prices are also very elevated on an inflation-adjusted basis.

Real (that is, inflation-adjusted) gas prices haven’t been this high heading into Memorial Day weekend since 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The all-time high for average inflation-adjusted gas prices was set in June 2008 at $5.38 a gallon.

The price of gas has surged by 30% since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February. The $4.60-a-gallon price today is about 50% higher than last Memorial Day weekend.

This reflects triple-digit oil prices and the fact that refineries are having trouble producing all the gasoline, jet fuel and diesel needed right now.

Despite high prices, AAA estimates that 34.9 million people will travel by car this holiday weekend, up 4.6% from last year.

Every state in America has an average price for regular gas above $4 a gallon. While prices are cheapest in the Gulf Coast, with an average of $4.16 a gallon, the average on the West Coast is now $5.36 a gallon, according to the EIA.

According to AAA, Utah’s average price for a gallon of regular hit a new record high on Friday of $4.68.

“What we’ve seen is even with record-high prices — with $4.70 a gallon in Utah, $5 elsewhere — Americans still want to get out and travel,” AAA spokesperson John Treanor told KSL TV. “It seems to have had very little effect on the appetite for Memorial Day vacations.”

But Treanor said travelers hitting the road may be looking to offset high gas prices by making adjustments to other parts of their trip.

“They might shorten their vacation,” he said. “They might choose a different hotel. They might save on meals or other activities on their vacation. They’re going to try to make up the money elsewhere.”

Treanor said Memorial Day is normally an indicator of what summer travel will look like.

“So it looks like the appetite for travel is here to stay as well as the gas prices,” he said.

KSL TV’s Ladd Egan contributed to this report.

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Memorial Day gas prices hit 10-year high adjusted for inflation