The Labor Department's Consumer Price Index has found that gas prices have been at an almost record-high for the past few months, rising 14.4 percent since February. They are 27.5 percent higher than they were this time last year. Over the past two weeks, prices have risen by as much as 20 cents per gallon.
Some economists worry that this could cause a bigger rate of inflation than predicted. Food prices have soared by 2.9 percent over the past 12 months, caused primarily by the increasing cost of major agricultural crops. Analysts attribute the rise to a growing global demand and widespread crop failures.
MarketWatch.com reports that consumer prices have risen by 2.7 percent over the past year, a spike that is being felt around the world. The European Union experienced a 2.7 percent jump as well, and China was hit with an inflationary rise of 5.4 percent.
This surge comes at a time when American workers are making less – the average hourly wage of American employees, adjusted for inflation, has dropped by 0.6 percent.
The cost of gas is likely having the most effect on Americans, many of whom are still reeling from the economic downturn. CNBC estimates that the average driver, who covers around 15,000 miles each year and uses 750 gallons of gas, will be paying about $750 extra if prices don't drop again.
"When I hear from the news that the gas price will skyrocket above $4 per gallon it freaks me out," lawyer Brian Park told the news source.
Officials have said that the rise in gas prices will pass in time. Analysts compare it to 2008, when a similar spike occurred, prompting drivers changed their driving behaviors.
"Nearly half reduced their gas consumption by consolidated shopping trips, 29 percent canceled or modified vacations, 25 percent found alternatives to driving," analyst David Portalatin told the news provider. "The more sustained price spike, the greater the impact."