One Minnesota gas station owner is empathizing with his customers as the national average price for a gallon of gasoline officially reached $5 a gallon for the first time in history.
Chuck Graff, the owner of Murphy’s Service Center in St. Anthony, put up a sign below his prices reading: ‘We hate our gas prices too.’
‘It’s just kind of our way of letting the customer know that we feel their pain,’ Graff told CBS Minnesota.
And drivers say they appreciate the sentiment as they spend between $50 to $125 to fill up their tanks.
‘If you don’t have humor about it, you’re just going to sit there and cry,’ Kyle Mohs said of the skyrocketing prices.
Daud Nooh also said: ‘It’s nice that they’re having a little fun with it. I mean, life has its challenges always, so it’s good to just put a little humor in life.’
Nooh said he has stopped driving his larger vehicle, and is instead tooling his sedan around town, as he had spent nearly $100 to fill up the large vehicle, and is now spending about $50 on the sedan.
Mohs, meanwhile, filled up his truck on Thursday for a grand total of $120.
But, he said, he was reminded by Graff’s message that this is not his fault – as inflation nationwide reached a yearly increase of 8.6 percent in May, the highest level since December 1981.
‘There’s nothing they can do about it either, so to pay $5 a gallon of gas, it hurts the wallet, but you have to.’
A gas station owner in St. Anthony, Minnesota put up a sign under his gas prices saying ‘We hate our gas prices too’
Chuck Graff, the owner of Murphy’s Service Center, said he wanted to let customers know he feels their pain at the pump
One man had to pay $125 to fill up his truck in Minnesota on Thursday
On Saturday, the national average price for a gallon of gasoline reached $5
Gas prices have shot up in recent months amid Russia’s continued assault of Ukraine and the ensuing sanctions western countries have imposed on Russian oil, which pulled more than 1 million barrels of oil off of global markets.
In March, President Joe Biden announced that the United States would ban Russian oil and natural gas, warning Americans that ‘defending freedom is going to cost.’
But gas prices were already high at the time due to increased demand as the economy started to recover from COVID-related shutdowns, as well as increased travel demands going into the summer.
At the same time, though, many oil companies closed a number of their refineries as demand plummeted during the pandemic.
By Saturday, the national average price of gasoline reached $5 a gallon – up 60 cents from a month ago and up nearly two dollars from just one year ago, according to the New York Times.
The average price of gas, meanwhile, was above $4 in all 50 states – and in California, the price exceeds $6 a gallon, while in Minnesota, the price was $4.72.
Energy experts now estimate that for every penny the price of gas increases, it costs Americans an extra $4 million a day, with the average American paying $450 gas month for their fuel needs.
And research by the Bank of America Institute, which uses anonymous data from millions of their customers’ credit and debit card accounts, shows spending on gas eating up a larger share of consumers’ budgets and crowding out their ability to buy other items.
For lower-income households – defined as those with incomes below $50,000 – spending on gas reached nearly 10 percent of all spending on credit and debit cards in the last week of May, the institute said in a report this week.
That’s up from about 7.5 percent in February, a steep increase in such a short period.
President Joe Biden is now expected to travel to Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s largest oil producers, in an attempt to improve diplomatic relations and help bring down prices.
He is also encouraging domestic producers to pump more oil to help reduce the costs.
But the president is facing an uphill battle to quell the rising prices as the Labor Department reported on Friday that the consumer price index jumped 1 percent in May from the prior month, for a 12-month increase of 8.6 percent – topping the recent peak seen in March and hitting its highest level since December 1981.
He admitted in the aftermath of the report that inflation does not appear to be as transitory as he first claimed back in December, as he continued to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin and Republicans in Congress.
‘Today’s report underscores why I have made fighting inflation my top economic priority,’ Biden said in a statement Friday, conceding that ‘it is not coming down as sharply and as quickly as we must see.’
He went on to blame Russia and Republicans for high inflation, calling rising food and energy costs ‘Putin’s Price Hike,’ and called on Congress to pass ‘tax reform to make the wealthiest Americans and big corporations pay their fair share,’ claiming that this would reduce inflationary pressure by lowering the federal deficit.
Inflation has emerged as a key threat to President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats in the midterms, as Biden prepares to travel to Saudi Arabia in an attempt to restore diplomatic relations and bring gas prices down
New data show that annual inflation in the US rose to 8.6% last month, the biggest increase since December 1981
Inflation in May was hotter than economists had expected, and topped the recent peak of 8.5 percent set in March
Inflation has emerged as a key threat to Biden and congressional Democrats in the midterms, with surveys showing that Americans see high inflation as the nation’s top problem, and most disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy.
Now, Congressional Republicans are hammering Biden and Democrats on the issue, in the run-up to the midterm elections this fall.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy responded to Friday’s inflation data by tweeting: ‘I call on Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats to hold a prime-time hearing on the out-of-control inflation their policies have created.’
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel blamed soaring inflation on Democrats’ $1.9 trillion stimulus bill a year ago, noting that inflation has outpaced wages every month since.
‘Inflation is up and real wages are down. In Joe Biden’s America, everyday essentials are priced as luxury items and Americans are tired of paying the price for Biden’s failed agenda,’ McDaniel said in a statement. ‘The families who are struggling to put food on the table, fill their cars, and find baby formula deserve answers, yet Biden doesn’t care.’
Even Jason Furman, a top economic advisor in the Obama administration, admitted the U.S. economy is ‘not in a sustainable place right now’ due to inflation outpacing wages.
‘Right now, we’re in a bad situation where we have a lot more price inflation than wage inflation,’ he told CNBC on Friday.
‘If you tamp down on the economy, you’re going to slow price growth and you’re going to slow wage growth. I don’t have any obvious answer for which one of those slows more than the other.’