Gas Prices Average $5 Outside California for First Time

Gasoline prices have hit an average of $5 for the first time in a state other than California, the AAA has reported.

Hawaii recorded an average price of $4.997 for a gallon of regular unleaded on Tuesday, according to the AAA state gas price average. The price report, which is updated daily, also includes mid-grade gas at $5.148, premium at $5.413 and diesel at $5.23 in Hawaii.

The AAA's national average gas price stood at $4.316 on Tuesday, driven in part by Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24 and its impact on oil markets.

Crude oil prices have dipped slightly this week after reaching record highs earlier this month, but they remain well up on the figures for December 2021—so American drivers may not find relief at the gas pumps immediately.

According to the AAA, California had a regular gas price of $5.750 on Tuesday, with mid-grade at $5.941, premium at $6.077 and diesel at $6.277. The state's prices per gallon have always been higher than elsewhere in the U.S. because it imports much of its gas, imposes heftier taxes on fuel and uses cleaner-burning gasoline to reduce pollution.

Other states came close to the $5 threshold on Tuesday, the AAA reported. Nevada's regular price was $4.96, with mid-grade at $5.176, premium at $5.371 and diesel at $5.214.

In Washington state, the regular price for gas was $4.743. The state's mid-grade was $4.957, premium was $5.139 and diesel was $5.398. Regular gas prices in Alaska and Oregon stood at $4.739 and $4.736 respectively.

The state with the lowest price per gallon on Tuesday was Kansas, at $3.813. It was followed by Missouri at $3.830 and Oklahoma at $3.842.

Bottlenecks in the supply chain and pent-up demand linked to the COVID-19 pandemic have also fueled the rise in gas prices. Crude oil prices tumbled in early 2020 as demand reduced during lockdowns, but demand recovered faster than producers could supply—sending prices soaring.

On March 8, President Joe Biden announced a ban on Russian oil and natural gas imports in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, putting further pressure on gas prices.

However, the U.S. does not rely heavily on Russian oil imports—unlike some European economies—thanks to its own oil production and proximity to other major producers. In December 2021, the U.S. received 90,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Russia, according to government figures. This compares with more than 4 million barrels per day from Canada and 492,000 barrels per day from Mexico, as well as 472,000 from Saudi Arabia.

Ukrainian and Russian diplomats resumed talks on Tuesday in hopes of agreeing a cease-fire, as Kyiv was hit with continuous shelling. A curfew is due to be extended in the Ukrainian capital in response to the escalating violence.

Follow our live blog for updates on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Increasing U.S. gas prices
Prices at an Exxon gas station on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., seen on March 14. Hawaii's average price per gallon reached $4.997 on Tuesday. Win McNamee/Getty