How much are Americans willing to spend on gasoline?

Gas prices in 2024 seem slightly more affordable than the average $3.52 per gallon high last year or the $5.01 per gallon Americans faced in 2022, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data. How much people pay at the pump varies depending on where they live, the most expensive being on the West Coast.

As of June 20, the average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. is $3.58, per American Trucks.

States with the highest gas prices:

  1. California — $5.10
  2. Hawaii — $4.78
  3. Washington — $4.55

States with the lowest gas prices:

  1. Mississippi — $3.03
  2. Arkansas — $3.07
  3. Oklahoma — $3.08

The average price for gas per gallon in Utah is $3.57.

American Trucks conducted a survey of 1,000 Americans to see how much of their income was being spent at the gas station and how it was affecting their travel decisions in 2024.

“On average, Americans are spending roughly 3% of their annual income on gas,” but they “believe that a gallon of gas should cost $2.37 per gallon, roughly 37% less than what they are currently paying.” Annually, they spend around $1,712 on gas, which means they spend about $3.76 per gallon, and “23% of Americans are holding back on summer travel and/or road trips due to gas prices,” the survey found.

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What causes gas prices to fluctuate?

The main driving factor is crude oil prices.

Retail gasoline prices are primarily influenced by crude oil prices and the gasoline supply available to meet demand. According to experts, gasoline prices have been more stable this year than in previous years, yet Americans are still concerned about increasing inflation and how prices could be affected.

“Even adjusting for inflation, gas prices have been considerably higher under Biden. The average Trump price, in 2024 dollars, was $3.18. The average Biden price was $3.86. That’s 21% higher under Biden, adjusted for inflation,” per Yahoo Finance. “But market forces that no US president can control explain the recent history of oil and gas prices far more than anything Trump or Biden has done.”

The U.S. holds oil reserves but still imports from various countries every year. Last year, the U.S. received around 4.4 million barrels of petroleum from Canada, and according to Statista, global crude oil reserves totaled approximately 1.7 trillion barrels as of 2020.

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“Gasoline is the most commonly produced petroleum product. U.S. refinery production of conventional motor gasoline reached 1.4 million barrels per day in 2021,” Statista added. “Most refineries in the U.S. are located on the Gulf Coast close to productive oil basins such as the Permian and ports for shipping.”

Because gas is a fossil fuel in global demand, international factors can also significantly affect the prices advertised at your local gas station. Conflicts in oil-producing regions can impact the stability of oil supplies, which then, by connection, affects gas prices.

“Despite being the world’s largest oil producer, the United States still brings in more oil from other countries than it sends out, with a majority coming from Canada, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia,” according to Armed Forces Bank. “America’s reliance on imports provides the global crude oil market with the central role in shaping US gas prices.”

“This is a weird time because we have two wars going on, and the oil market is very wary of that,” Andrew Gross of AAA told CBS News. “The oil market is very volatile and doesn’t like the potential for bad news, or any worries that the war could widen to include oil-producing countries.”

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