The Washington Post published an article Thursday arguing that gasoline prices aren’t actually very high despite “recent commentary” on the issue.
Rising gasoline prices are a consequence of inflation, which affects all sectors of the economy, Severin Borenstein, faculty director of the Haas School of Business’ Energy Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in the Post article. He added that the typical American has experienced wage increases that have accounted for gasoline price hikes.
“Do you find it outrageous that it costs more than that today?” Borenstein wrote. “If your answer is no — because the price of almost everything has gone up in the past six decades — then, like me, you may be exasperated by much of the recent commentary on the cost of gas.”
“Although gasoline has become less affordable to those whom society is leaving behind, it has not become less affordable to the typical household,” Borenstein said.
However, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices remain near their highest level since 2014, according to data compiled by the Energy Information Administration. While the nationwide average price of gasoline has dipped slightly in the last two weeks, it continues to rise on the West Coast.
The average price of gasoline hit $3.37 per gallon on Friday, a more than 55% increase compared to just one year ago, according to AAA.
Gas prices have also increased far more than consumer prices in other sectors, the latest Consumer Price Index report from the Labor Department showed. The agency’s gasoline index surged 6.1% in the one-month period between September and October, nearly as much as all prices increased over the previous 12 months.
Meanwhile, wages haven’t kept up with gas price increases, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday. The average earnings of a private sector employee increased about 4.8% over the 12-month period ending in November.