Americans got used to falling gasoline prices and filling up cheaply from 2014 to 2016, but they are paying dearly at the pump now.
Sales at gasoline stations were up almost 12% in April compared to one year ago, reflecting a runup in oil prices that began last summer and accelerated in 2018. The cost of a barrel of oil has climbed above $70 from $45, and it could head higher still with the summer driving season straight ahead.
Put another way, Americans shelled out an extra $4.4 billion for gasoline last month than they did in April 2017, according the government’s latest report on retail sales.
That’s $4.4 billion Americans can’t spend on a new TV, a kitchen appliance, new clothes or eating out.