U.S. gasoline prices hit a record high this week, breaking a previous high from the early 1980s, on an inflation-adjusted basis.
The latest increase came as Americans mobilized for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, also considered the start of the peak driving season.
In most states, the price of a gallon of gasoline is solidly above $3.00; in others, it is approaching $4.00 a gallon. Prices are up more than a dollar a gallon since February and are about a third of a dollar more than a year ago.
The last time prices were over $3-a-gallon on a national basis was in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in September 2005. At that time, crude oil hit a record high of about $72 a barrel. Earlier in the week, crude oil traded around $67 a barrel, having slipped below $50 a barrel late last fall.
The latest weekly Energy Department data on energy supplies showed crude stocks increased by two million barrels and gasoline inventories grew by 1.5 million barrels, versus forecasts of a 0.6 million barrel build for crude and a 1.4 million barrel increase for gasoline
The Energy Information Administration this week released a worrisome international energy outlook, forecasting a 57% iincrease in world energy consumption by 2030 -- assuming modest economic growth rates and a continuation of current government policies.