At a press briefing on Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki attributed the 40% increase in gasoline prices across the United States seasonally, citing that they historically see increases during the summer months.
In response to a question from a reporter noting how the higher cost of fuel has strained the transportation budgets of many families, Psaki touted the administration’s progress in eliminating COVID, which she said resuscitated consumer demand for travel, contributing to the rise in gas prices. The average price of gasoline now stands at $ 3.14, the reporter added.
“Gas prices historically rise in the summer, and this is especially true at times like this, when there is an increase in the number of people traveling and more people are now taking the road due to of our success in fighting the pandemic, ”Psaki said.
“In the last ten years before the pandemic, for example, the average price of gas in July was almost 30 cents higher than in January,” she added.
Psaki’s comments dismissing the increase in gas prices come as inflation fears loom for many US businesses and households. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which tracks the cost of a variety of goods in the average consumer basket as well as housing and energy prices, jumped up in May at the fastest annual rate since August 2008, the Labor Ministry said last month.
Many sectors of the economy have experienced inflationary pressures, at least in part due to market imbalance resulting from supply cuts and production bottlenecks induced by the pandemic.
The recent ransomware attack by Russian cybercriminals on the colonial pipeline took the entire network down for days, Chopped off about 45 percent of all fuel consumed along the east coast. The hack, which created a temporary gas shortage and sent Americans flocking to gas stations to panic buying, exacerbated the forces that were already pushing prices up.
In early May, AAA pegged the average gallon at $ 2.99, a figure that has since increased by 15 cents in the space of two months, raising concerns that inflation may not be a transient phenomenon for this year.