It's a little late in the year for gas prices to be just now hitting their high, but here we are.
Gas prices hit new 2023 highs Monday as a squeeze on oil supply sent prices of refined products higher.
The national average for gasoline in the US hit $3.88, according to AAA. In Western states, prices are well above the national average. California's average sat at $5.69 per gallon.
The price of diesel, which is used to transport goods via trucks, was up $0.23 from one month ago, at $4.57 per gallon.
Other refined products like jet fuel have also been on the rise. Several airlines including United Airlines (UAL), Delta (DAL), and American (AAL) sounded the alarm recently on lower profits amid higher fuel costs.
Not a good sign.
I've been waiting to show you this chart, so we might as well talk about it while we're here.
Total US crude oil inventories, including the Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR), just fell below 800 million barrels.
The last time this happened?
In 1985, just a few years after the SPR was formed.
In other words, the US now has just 46 days worth of supply in total reserves, an all time low.
Just 3 years ago, we had a record 92 days of supply in inventories, 100% more than current levels.
This is a dangerous game.
Yeah, we're playing with fire here, people. We're draining the SPR to ease the pain, yet here we are with gas prices hitting their peak in September, which is a tad bit late in the year if you ask me.
More on why those prices are so high:
Crude has been on an upward trend over the past three months. West Texas Intermediate (CL=F) has risen by about $23 per barrel since late June to above $91 on Monday.
Brent crude futures (BZ=F) have seen a similar rise of more than 30% over the same period, hovering above $94 per barrel on Monday.
Watch closely here over the next few months, folks, as crude is trending upward and our government continues to empty the Strategic Petroleum Reserves. We know they want us off gasoline, it's just a matter of what lengths they'll go to in order to get us there.
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