NEW YORK (Agencies): As the U.S. summer driving season approaches, retail gasoline prices are poised to rise. Experts predict that the average national price could hit $4 a gallon, although some consider this estimate a bit of a stretch.

Supply Concerns and Summer-Grade Gasoline: The transition to summer-grade gasoline is a key factor contributing to the price surge. As we move away from winter blends, refineries adjust their production processes to meet stricter environmental standards. This shift, combined with shrinking inventories, has boosted both futures and pump prices in recent weeks. The delicate balance between supply and demand plays a crucial role in determining how high prices will climb.

Oil Prices on the Rise: Amid supply worries, oil prices are climbing. The global energy market remains sensitive to geopolitical tensions, production disruptions, and shifts in demand. These factors can significantly impact the cost of crude oil, which in turn affects gasoline prices at the pump. If the trend continues, we could see the average pump price reach its highest level since 2022.

Inflation and Economic Implications: Higher gasoline prices have broader implications beyond the gas station. They can impact the overall economy, including inflation rates. For both President Joe Biden and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, managing inflation is a critical challenge. As consumers pay more for fuel, it affects their purchasing power and household budgets. Policymakers closely monitor these developments to make informed decisions.

Lifestyle Adjustments and Political Focus: The impending pump price hike may force Americans to make lifestyle adjustments. Commuters may rethink their travel plans, consider carpooling, or explore alternative transportation options. Additionally, the rising cost of fuel is likely to be a focal point in the upcoming presidential election. Candidates and voters alike will scrutinize energy policies and their impact on everyday lives.

Refinery Challenges and Global Factors: Behind the scenes, aging refinery infrastructure poses challenges. Unexpected outages due to leaks, fires, or maintenance can disrupt production and affect supply. Furthermore, geopolitical events—such as attacks on Russian refineries—ripple through the global energy market. These interconnected factors contribute to the complex equation that determines the price we pay at the pump.

The current national average price at the pump stands at $3.54 a gallon, but keep an eye out as we approach the summer months. Remember, this is not just about fuel—it’s about how we navigate our lives on the road!

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