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New York (AFP) – The price of gasoline at the pump on Saturday climbed for the first time above the threshold of 5 dollars on average per gallon of premium (3.78 liters) in the United States, according to data from the American Association of motorists (AAA).
This level, a record, is fueling inflation and represents bad news for Joe Biden a few months before a crucial election deadline.
The average price of a gallon of gasoline, which was $3.077 a year ago, has since soared by 62%. The current price corresponds to 1.25 euros per litre, Americans being used to gasoline that is less taxed and cheaper than in Europe.
This increase comes in the wake of the rise in oil prices, which had collapsed at the start of the pandemic due to lack of demand but recovered as economic activity resumed. They especially jumped after the invasion of Ukraine by Moscow at the end of February and the establishment of sanctions against Russia, a major producer of black gold. A barrel of crude is currently trading at more than 120 dollars in London and New York.
According to figures released Friday by the US administration, energy prices as a whole soared 34.6% in May compared to May 2021.
The surge helped fuel the general rise in consumer prices in the United States, which rose 8.6% year on year in May, a 40-year high.
As the season for major car trips for the holidays approaches and while Americans often favor fuel-guzzling models, the increase in prices at the pump will put a further strain on the budget of motorists, who must also in the face of rising food prices (+10.1% in May), housing, cars and even medical care.
This complicates the position of Joe Biden, who has been repeating for several months that his administration is doing everything possible to bring down prices without slowing down economic activity and must face in a few months the mid-term elections, which will renew a large part of the elected members of Congress.
On Friday, the American president once again attacked the American oil industry, which he warned against “using” the situation in Ukraine “to make things worse for families, make excessive profits or drive up prices”.
© 2022 AFP