Americans are feeling more pain at the pumps as gas prices continue to soar in the wake of inflation. Over the past year, gas prices have risen more than 60 percent for all formulations. This week gas prices hit a record $5 in parts of the country for the first time in history. It was back in July of 2008 when gas prices peaked at $4.16 a gallon or $145 per barrel.

A report by the US Energy Information Administration noted that prices are particularly high in cities on the West Coast where prices have reached $6.27 in California and $6.38 in San Francisco. The lowest prices remain along the Gulf Coast in states like Florida and Texas.

Economists are putting the recent hike down to a variety of factors including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, inflation and the Keystone Pipeline Cancellation. An influx of travel due to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions does not seem to be a driving factor or recent increases. During the height of the pandemic, travel remained low which kept prices down, and prices remained low even though Americans could return to normal travel again.

Governors in some states are calling for a cut in gas taxes to ease the burden on Americans who are ready to hit the road for summer vacation. In response, the U.S. government has begun to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in hopes of stabilizing prices. This was the largest release of oil reserves in the country’s history.

In a statement from former White House press secretary Jen Psaki, she said these programs will help address supply shortages.

“The Department of Energy announced that it has awarded contracts for all of the initial 30 million barrels it put up for sale as part of the emergency release of 1 million barrels per day in oil for the next 6 months,” she said. “This is an important step to addressing the supply shortage and the Putin Price Hike Americans are facing. These sales will continue. And because of round-the-clock diplomatic efforts, our partners and Allies have committed to releasing an additional 60 million barrels.”

The White House also took steps to release a more energy efficient fuel this summer. E15 gasoline uses 15 percent ethanol blend and is designed to save drivers up to 10 percent at the pumps.

“The President announced that his Administration is planning to allow the sale of E15 gasoline in all parts of the country this summer, so that Americans have access to more choices and lower prices,” she said. “And the Administration continues to work toward real energy independence by rapidly reducing our dependence on oil—including this week’s announcement of critical investments to deploy clean energy.”