By Nathalie Voit

The national average for a regular gallon of gas approached five dollars on June 9 as the cost of crude oil and high demand for fuel kept pump prices surging, AAA said in a news release.

The cost of a barrel of oil this week soared past $120 as oil demand continues to outpace global supply. According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released on. June 8, U.S. crude oil inventories at the Cushing Hub in Oklahoma fell to their lowest since early March, while gasoline stockpiles tumbled to their lowest seasonal reading in eight years. The EIA said total domestic stockpiles fell by 700,000 barrels to 219 million barrels last week.

At the same time, fuel consumption continues to rise even as retail gas prices near record levels. Following the busy Memorial Day weekend, consumer demand for gasoline rose to almost nine million barrels a day for the first time this year, EIA data showed.

“People are still fueling up, despite these high prices,” AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross said in the release. “At some point, drivers may change their daily driving habits or lifestyle due to these high prices, but we are not there yet.” 

California leads the nation in high gas prices, reporting a state average of $6.40 a gallon. Nevada comes in second ($5.59), followed by Illinois ($5.55), Alaska ($5.51), Oregon ($5.51), and Washington ($5.51).

As of Thursday afternoon, international benchmark Brent Crude is trading above $123 a barrel, while U.S. crude oil standard West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is nearing $122 a barrel. For comparison, Brent Crude was trading at about $70.75 a barrel in August, while WTI averaged $67.73 a barrel that month, according to data from Statista.