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Expand chart
Data: Energy Information Administration; Graphic: Axios Visuals

Geopolitical trends are driving summer pump prices, which typically go up around this time every year anyway, even higher.

Why it matters: It’ll cost you more on your summer road trips and could blunt the economic gains from the recently passed tax overhaul bill.

By the numbers:

  • The national average is currently around $2.80 a gallon, up from $2.40 this time last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
  • Nearly half of all gasoline stations are selling gas at $2.76 a gallon or more, and 17% are $3.01 or more, according to AAA.
  • Expect more regions to breach the $3 mark in the coming months, according to AAA spokeswoman Jeanette Casselano. At that price point, 40% of drivers will start changing their driving habits, per an AAA survey.

What’s driving the increase since January:

  1. A decrease in the global supply of oil, led by ongoing cuts by OPEC, is driving up global oil prices. Oil prices are the major factor in domestic gasoline prices.
  2. The OPEC cuts are working as the oil cartel intended: to drive up oil prices from lows of around $30 a barrel in January 2016 to more than $65 today, according to Kevin Book, managing director of ClearView Energy Partners, an independent research firm.
  3. "The collapse of the Venezuelan production is helping them work, perhaps better than anyone expected," Book said.
  4. Environmental regulations require refineries to switch to a cleaner, more expensive type of gasoline every summer compared to winter.
  5. Increased demand overall for gasoline and oil, driven by an improving global economy.

What's next: AAA expects the national average hitting $2.90, possibly by Memorial Day. "Then it will likely stabilize during the summer, with the understanding that if demand spikes, prices are likely to follow," Casselano said.

Go deeper

Capitol repairs, security top $30M since Jan. 6 attacks

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Architect of the Capitol Brett Blanton on Wednesday said that repairs and security expenses related to the Jan. 6 insurrection have already cost more than $30 million.

The state of play: Congressional appropriations committees have allocated the $30 million for repairs and perimeter fencing around the Capitol building through March 31, per NPR.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

White House stands by imperiled Tanden nomination after Senate panel postpones hearing

Neera Tanden. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate Homeland Security Committee is postponing a confirmation hearing scheduled Wednesday for Neera Tanden, Axios has learned, a potential death knell for President Biden's nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget.

The latest: Asked Wednesday afternoon whether Tanden has offered to withdraw her nomination, Psaki told reporters, "That’s not the stage we’re in." She noted that it's a "numbers game" and a "matter of getting one Republican" to support the nomination.

Acting Capitol Police chief: Officers were unsure of lethal force rules on Jan. 6

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman wrote in prepared remarks for a House hearing on Thursday that officers in her department were "unsure of when to use lethal force" during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Why it matters: Capitol Police did deploy lethal force on Jan. 6 — shooting and killing 35-year-old Ashli Babbit — but have faced questions over why officers appeared to be less forceful against pro-Trump rioters than participants in previous demonstrations, including those over Black Lives Matter and now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.