Category Archives: gas prices

How High Will Gasoline Prices at the Pump Go?

How high can Americans expect to see the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States rise?

The specific answer to that question depends on a lot of factors, but the one that matters most in the current geopolitical climate is the price of crude oil. That price was already rising for American consumers because of President Biden's environmental policies that have constrained the production and supply of oil and gas in the U.S. But now, with the added factor of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in the developing geopolitical environment, crude oil prices are soaring because many expect economic sanctions being enacted against Russia will be expanded to include its oil exports.

That's significant because Russia is the third largest producer of crude oil in the world, following the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Reducing the supply of crude oil in much of the world by what Russia currently supplies to it without any change in demand would be expected to cause prices to rise, which is exactly how oil prices have behaved.

Knowing that then, we're updating the math behind a tool we first presented in 2012, which answered the question: "Where Are U.S. Gas Prices Going?", which we've adjusted to account for today's slightly higher average state and local gas taxes. To use the tool, you only need to enter the price of Brent crude oil into it, which if you're accessing our site directly, appears in the upper right corner of this article (via Oil-Price.Net)! [If you're accessing this article from a site that republishes our RSS news feed, please click through to our site to access a working version of the tool.]

Crude Oil Price Data
Input Data Values
Price per Barrel of Brent Crude Oil

Future Price of Gasoline in U.S.
Estimated Results Values
Average U.S. Price per Gallon

Our default value of $118.11 represents the price of Brent crude oil at the end of trading on 4 March 2022, which corresponds to an average U.S. price of $3.85 per gallon, which is very close what AAA reported for the national average price for a gallon of gasoline on this date. Depending on where you live, you'll want to consider how state and local fuel taxes affect the price you pay at the pump, which can add quite a lot to the price you pay per gallon.

That said, even with that adjustment, the tool's results won't give you a perfect match. That's largely because of volatility in the price of Brent crude oil. Frequent fluctuations in the market price for a barrel of Brent crude oil makes it difficult to pin down the exact average price for a gallon of gas at the pump. Regardless, our tool will put you close to the right ballpark for determining what you can expect to pay on average for a gallon of gas. Whether the price of crude oil drops to $50 or rockets to $200 per barrel, it will give you a good idea of how much you'll pay for each gallon of petrol at the pump.

So go ahead, take our tool for a test drive to see what kind of price you can expect to pay at the pump using your best guess of what crude oil prices will be in the future. Or just do it using the latest "live" Brent oil price, because in our fast moving world, it's already noticeably different from what it was when we drafted this edition of the tool.

Gas Pump, by Dawn McDonald - Source: Unsplash (

Image Credit: Photo by Dawn McDonald on Unsplash.

How Much Do You Pay in Gas Taxes?

Gas Station in the Nevada Desert - Source: Suzanne Emily O'Connor via Unsplash -

Do you have any idea how much money you're paying to the government each time you fill up your gas tank? We're not just talking about the federal government. State and local governments across the U.S. are also getting in on that action!

It's a question that's taken on more significance in recent weeks, with politicians up for re-election this year reacting to sharply inflating fuel prices by proposing a federal gas tax holiday. That could save you up to 18.4 cents a gallon, but how much would you save at the pump over the course of a full year?

We've built the following tool to help you estimate how much you'll pay in vehicle fuel taxes this year and to answer questions like that. To use it, update the fuel tax rates that apply for your state or local jurisdiction, update the gas mileage data for your specific vehicle of interest, then click the "Calculate" button to find out how much you're paying in gas taxes! [If you're accessing this article on a site that republishes our RSS news feed, please click through to our site to access a working version of the tool.]

Vehicle Data
Input Data Values
Miles Driven in One Year
Your Vehicles Average Fuel Mileage
Fuel Price and Tax Rates
Average Price per Gallon for Fuel
U.S. Federal Gasoline Excise Taxes and Fees (cents per gallon)
State Gasoline Excise Taxes and Fees (cents per gallon)
Local Gasoline Excise Taxes and Fees (cents per gallon)
Combined State and Local Sales Tax Rate, if applicable (%)

Annual Fuel Usage and Out-of-Pocket Cost
Estimated Results Values
Gallons of Fuel Purchased for Vehicle
Total Cost of Fuel
One Year's Worth of Fuel Taxes for Vehicle
Federal Gasoline Excise Taxes and Fees
State Gasoline Excise Taxes and Fees
Local Gasoline Excise Taxes and Fees
State and/or Local Sales Taxes
Total Fuel Taxes
Portion of What You Paid for Fuel That Went to Governments
Percentage of Fuel Cost

For the default data, we find that 20.7% of what was paid for fuel at the pump for this single vehicle went to the federal, state, and local government. $66.91 of that was for federal fuel taxes, which is a little under 4.8% of what was paid for fuel in the default example. The more that fuel prices rise, the smaller the benefit you might get from having the federal fuel tax suspended would be in terms of your annual fuel bill.

The default data in the tool is based on the applicable fuel excise taxes, sales taxes, and government-mandated fees that applied to fuel sales in Erie County in New York in January 2022. We've simplified the local sales tax calculation to make the math more generally applicable to other jurisdictions, so it won't perfectly match the more precise sales tax math that specifically applies in Erie County.

While these state and local taxes are high, they're not the worse in the U.S. For that scenario, replace the default data with California's fuel taxes and fees. For the numbers that would matter most to you, update the tool with the fuel tax data that applies for your state.

Image credit: Photo by Suzanne Emily O’Connor on Unsplash.

What’s Behind Rising Gasoline Prices in the Biden Era?

The Biden administration has taken a strange view that the rising prices many American households have faced throughout 2021 are a good thing because more people are buying goods.

Watch the following exchange between CNN's Jake Tapper and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki in this short video clip from 15 October 2021:

If prices are rising because more people are buying goods, the economic law of supply says we should also be seeing the supply of those goods increase. That's because rising prices, all things being equal, gives producers an incentive to sell more of the things they produce. More importantly, rising prices give marginal producers who can dial up their production a very strong incentive to produce more. Otherwise, they're losing out on easy profits.

For much of 2021, you can see the Law of Supply at work, with some very noticeable exceptions, in the following diagram charting the weekly price and quantities of crude oil being processed at U.S. refineries throughout 2021.

U.S. Crude Oil Price vs Quantity, 1 January 2021 through 22 October 2021

Those very noticeable exceptions include:

In the case of the February 2021 Cold Weather Event, oil production in the U.S. fully recovered, with rising prices coinciding with rising supplies. The recovery from Hurricane Ida looks similar, up to a point. We see that something went very awry after 1 October 2021. Instead of the supply of crude oil rising with rising prices as it did earlier in the year, the supply of crude oil going into U.S. refineries has fallen, while prices have continued to escalate. Not only that, refineries never recovered to the levels they were producing before Hurricane Ida disrupted production.

Since 1 October 2021, something very different is at work in the U.S. economy. To confirm that's the case, here's our tool for determining whether supply or demand is behind changes in price. We've set the default entries to apply to the situation with oil being processed at U.S. refineries since 1 October 2021.

Price and Available Quantity Data
Input Data Values
How has the price of the item changed over a given period of time?
How has the available quantity of the item changed over that same time period?

What's Behind the Change in Price?

We confirm that oil prices are rising now because the supply of crude oil being processed at U.S. refineries has fallen. That is something that's now showing up across the U.S. in the form of rising gasoline prices.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration is claiming that demand is rising faster than supply, but their own data says otherwise. We also looked at the weekly number of barrels of crude oil from U.S. field production and being imported into the U.S., and find they have recovered to pre-Hurricane Ida levels.

Weekly U.S. Imports and Field Production of Crude Oil, 1 January 2021 through 22 October 2021

The only explanation we've found that correlates with the price and quantity data points to refineries temporarily shutting down to change over to approved winter blends of petroleum products. If that's indeed all it is, that environmental regulation-driven change has a negative economic effect similar to a sustained, small-scale supply disruption caused by a natural disaster.


U.S. Energy Information Administration. Petroleum & Other Liquids: Weekly Crude Oil Spot Prices (West Texas Intermediate). [Online Database]. 27 October 2021.

U.S. Energy Information Administration. Petroleum & Other Liquids: Weekly U.S. Refiner Net Input of Crude Oil. [Online Database]. 27 October 2021.

U.S. Energy Information Administration. Petroleum & Other Liquids: Weekly U.S. Field Production of Crude Oil. [Online Database]. 27 October 2021.

U.S. Energy Information Administration. Petroleum & Other Liquids: Weekly U.S. Imports of Crude Oil. [Online Database]. 27 October 2021.

Back to the Fracking Patch

As often as we generate charts as part of our analysis, and as often as we use automated tools to generate them, there's actually quite an art that goes into making them. Today's is no different, other than we're going to push the envelope beyond what we've done before as we resume and update a story we've been following by retelling how it goes and how we expect it will go in a single picture.

Residual Distribution for Weekly Seasonally-Adjusted Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims, 31 May 2014 - 29 August 2015

It would seem that OPEC's "miserable failure" will likely have measurable negative consequences in the eight states indicated.

Visualizing Trends in Employment and Fuel Prices

By request, we've updated and begun refining our earlier presentation showing the major trends in the number of employed by age group as correlated with changes in the average retail price of gasoline in the U.S.

Change in Number of Employed by Age Group Since Total Employment Peak Reached in November 2007, through June 2015

One thing we observe is that with the recent rise in average fuel prices, the number of employed teens has nearly dropped back to where it was in the period from October 2009 through September 2014, suggesting that the recent benefits for employment growth to having had fuel prices fall from July 2014 through February 2015 may now be lost as fuel prices rise. Curiously, when we dug deeper into the data, we found that almost all of the reversal for U.S. teens occurred for male teenagers.

We also see that the effect of rising fuel prices isn't limited to younger Americans, as we see that once those prices began rising, the improving trend and momentum in the job picture for older Americans began to stall out in recent months. It is as if the relative increase in the disposable income that Americans gained as a result of having fuel prices fall is no longer available to fuel growth for firms whose business prospects are particularly sensitive to changes in the disposable income of American consumers.

Looking at the larger picture and what it means for the U.S. economy, the reason we focus special attention on the employment trends for both U.S. teens and young adults betwen the ages of 20 and 24 because these individuals are, almost by definition, on the margins for the U.S. job market. And of course, as any competent economist knows, all the important action in a nation's economy occurs or is most evident at its margins, which is why a capable analyst would go to the trouble of attempting to visualize the nation's changing employment situation against the context of the major factors that influence it.

Admittedly, we're still working at it because we're adapting a chart that we originally developed for another purpose by, in effect, using crayons to color in the relevant context.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey. Household Data: Both Sexes, All Races, All Origins, 16 years and over, 16 to 19 years, 20 to 24 years, All education levels, All marital statuses, Employed, Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly, November 2007 through June 2015. [Online Application]. Accessed 5 July 2015.

U.S. Energy Information Administration. U.S. All Grades All Formulations Retail Gasoline Prices, November 2007 through June 2015. [Online Application]. Accessed 5 July 2015.