The hard reality of the economic cost of world politics is hitting home at the pump.
U.S. gasoline prices at the pump jumped 11% over the past week to the highest since late July 2008 as global sanctions cripple Russia's ability to export crude oil after its invasion of Ukraine, automobile club AAA said on Sunday.
AAA said average U.S. regular grade gasoline prices hit $4.009 per gallon on Sunday, up 11% from $3.604 a week ago and up 45% from $2.760 a year ago.
The automobile club, which has data going back to 2000, said U.S. retail gasoline prices hit a record $4.114 a gallon on July 17, 2008, which was around the same time U.S. crude futures soared to a record $147.27 a barrel.
The most expensive gas in the country is in California at $5.288 a gallon, followed by Hawaii ($4.695), Nevada ($4.526) and Oregon ($4.466), according to AAA.
U.S. gasoline futures , meanwhile, soared to a record $3.890 per gallon on Sunday.
Gasoline price provider GasBuddy said the average price of U.S. gasoline spiked nearly 41 cents per gallon, topping $4 for the first time in almost 14 years, and stands just 10 cents below the all-time record of $4.103 per gallon.
GasBuddy said that weekly increase was the second largest ever, following a jump of 49 cents per gallon during the week of Sept. 3, 2005, after Hurricane Katrina tore through the U.S. Gulf Coast.
"Increasing oil prices continue to play a leading role in pushing prices higher," AAA said in a release, noting "pump prices will likely continue to rise as crude prices continue to climb."
U.S. crude futures soared more than 12% to $130.50 per barrel late Sunday, their highest since July 2008, as the United States and its European allies consider banning imports of Russian oil. read more
Gas prices around here went from $3.29 to $3.69 this week. I expect it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better in the weeks and months ahead, too. The Biden administration is already reaching out to OPEC, who admittedly, would like to cash in on oil prices spiking to record levels.
President Biden’s advisers are discussing a possible visit to Saudi Arabia this spring to help repair relations and convince the Kingdom to pump more oil, Axios has learned.
Why it matters: A hat-in-hand trip would illustrate the gravity of the global energy crisis driven by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Biden has chastised Saudi Arabia, and the CIA believes its de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was involved in the dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
The possibility also shows how Russia's invasion is scrambling world's alliances, forcing the U.S. to reorder its priorities — and potentially recalibrating its emphasis on human rights.
Biden officials are in Venezuela this weekend to meet with the government of President Nicolás Maduro. Some Republicans and Democrats in Washington suggest Venezuela's oil could replace Russia's, according to the New York Times.
Any visit to the Persian Gulf would come amid a busy presidential travel schedule during the next few months.
Biden will likely take trips to Japan, Spain, Germany and, potentially, Israel, Axios has also learned.
THat's right, the Biden administration is cozying up to the regimes in both Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, who frankly want to money but would also love to tell Biden to go screw himself.
Morals take a backseat to realpolitik, and I've run this blog long enough to more than accept that there are time where that will happen.
We'll see how this shakes out, but if this is Biden's Plan A, you probably don't want to know the political fallout of Plans B through whatever.