For anyone who depends on driving for a living or otherwise, passing through a gas station on the road is an enduring nightmare. Currently, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States is $4,164, according to the US Energy Information Administration. That’s a new all-time high, dwarfing the previous record of $4,103 set in 2008. Prices are likely to continue rising — even adjusting for small near-term price declines — on the back of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which has pressured an already tight supply of alcohol and oil and gas even tighter.
As GOBankingRates previously reported, GasBuddy expects the median price to reach $4.25 per gallon by May and likely stay above $4 through at least November. Coupled with the fact that inflation rates are at historic highs, all ICE drivers are feeling the pain. While it’s hard to see anything positive in this, the current energy cost crisis has potential silver linings if viewed with the right mindset. In particular, in a few years we might find that the high cost of gasoline around the world was the tipping point needed to break our reliance on internal combustion engine cars and our reliance on personal vehicles as the overly preferred mode of consumer transportation.
Maximizing crude oil permits here in the United States is not an easy fix as the US is already the world’s largest producer of crude oil, which makes sense given that it is also the world’s largest oil consumer – consuming about 20% of the world total. Oil prices were already rising before Russia invaded Ukraine, and a drop in oil permits didn’t contribute much to today’s shortages. Notwithstanding its prominent clean energy priorities, the Biden administration’s oil and gas permit numbers have kept pace with the early years of the Trump administration. President Biden’s administration approved 3,537 drilling permits in its first year, more than the number granted in each of the first three years of Trump’s administration, according to a CNN analysis of Bureau of Land Management drilling permit data.
Prior to the current gas crisis, COVID-19 decimated public transportation, particularly in places like Los Angeles and elsewhere where transit users were already declining and a heavy reliance on cars still exists. California’s Bay Area is one of the slowest recovering regions from a mass transit perspective. Remote work literally kills public transit. But if gas prices continue to remain at historic highs and inflation continues to soar, the silver lining to all these price hikes could be a salvation for public transport, getting passengers back on board and restoring timetables to pre-COVID levels. 19 time frames.
However, government action to ease gas price pain may delay what is likely to be a return to transit. In recent weeks, the governors of Maryland and Georgia signed legislation temporarily suspending their state’s gas taxes, while Georgia also offered taxpayers $1.1 billion in refunds in a separate action.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, California’s average gas prices hit a new weekly record high of $5.856 per gallon in late March, about $2 up from a year ago. California has the second highest gas tax in the country at $0.51 per gallon. California’s governor is now proposing rebates of up to $800 to ease gas problems. Governor Newsom wants the state to pay the transit fare for three months for California residents without a car. But maybe it would be just as (or more effective) if drivers were given an $800 rebate for choosing a different transportation method for the commute than riding with a single person, in hopes of encouraging public transit use — which is im state is urgently needed.
The impact on public transportation caused by the pandemic has hit places like California’s major subways and other areas where car use remains high, particularly hard. And coupled with low ridership, there is a shortage of manpower for transit and other local government positions, resulting in limited timetables on many transit lines. This leads to longer travel times and has a negative impact on the customer experience.
Cuts in public transit will likely continue to be painful until passenger demand forces transit companies to expand service and better meet customer expectations. This is a tricky chicken-and-egg swamp that may soon be resolved by ever-soaring gasoline prices and the lack of new electric cars to replace gas-powered vehicles.