Chart of the Week: Winter Gas Prices Reach All-Time High

The cost of gasoline today is at its highest point ever during winter, an ominous sign of what might be on the horizon in the months to come.

According to government data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average price of regular unleaded is $3.34 over the three-month period of December, January and February. The current national average is even higher: $3.65, according to the latest figures from AAA.

Last December, motorists encountered the highest-ever price for gas at Christmas in history. Today drivers in California are paying on average of more than $4 per gallon for regular. News reports from Florida put the price at nearly $6.

World events are a big factor for rising gas prices in the United States. The growing economies in China and India are fueling increases in demand for oil. Instability in the Middle East from Iran is also driving prices higher. And, in just a few months, when government regulations require major metropolitan cities to use cleaner burning reformulated gasoline blends during the warmer spring and summer months, motorists could be face even higher prices.

The rising cost of fuel has alarmed the White House, which held an event Thursday at the University of Miami. President Obama outlined new plans to increase domestic energy production.

Heritage’s Nick Loris responded with five half-truths about gas prices and five steps Congress and Obama can take to effectively combat them. Loris said high prices threaten to stall the country’s economic resurgence.

“Higher gas prices drive up production costs for goods reliant on transportation, and more money spent at the pump means less money spent at restaurants and movie theaters,” Loris said. “Buying fewer goods and services tightens the economic vice and holds back job creation.”

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