After months of working from home, Caroline McNaney, 29, was excited about going back to work in an office, even if her new job in Trenton, N.J., meant commuting an hour each way.
But when she spent $68 filling the tank of her blue Nissan Maxima this week, she felt a surge of regret about switching jobs.
“Is this for real?” Ms. McNaney recalled thinking. “I took a job further from home to make more money, and now I feel like I didn’t do anything for myself because gas is so high.”
The recent rise in gas prices — which the war in Ukraine has pushed even higher — has contributed to her sense of disappointment with President Biden. “I feel like he wants us to go out and spend money into the economy, but at the same time everything is being inflated,” she said.
Americans everywhere are feeling the sting of rising gasoline, which reached a national average of $4.07 a gallon on Monday, up more than 10 percent from a week ago. The last time consumers dealt with such a period of sharp price increases was when the global economy came undone during the 2008 financial crisis. (At that time, the average price per gallon reached roughly $5.37 when adjusted for inflation.)
This time, the high gasoline prices are hitting during multiple crises, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a pandemic that is receding but still not over, and the highest inflation levels in 40 years.
Gas prices were already increasing before the invasion last month, as oil suppliers scrambled to keep up with rising demand from consumers and businesses recovering from Covid disruptions. But calls in recent days from U.S. lawmakers and others to ban Russian oil imports have spurred worries about another hit to global supplies. Prices at the pump, in turn, soared rapidly.
The sticker shock is creating a conundrum for the Biden administration, which is trying to isolate Russia’s leader, Vladimir V. Putin, without squeezing the United States economy in the process.
The extreme prices — which for some types of gas have hovered near $6 a gallon in parts of California — could be fleeting. Accelerating production in the shale oil fields of Texas and other regions is expected to begin replenishing supplies soon.
Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at J.P. Morgan, said he expected consumer spending to slow over the next few months as Americans pay …….