Gas prices are on the rise again ahead of midterm elections

Gas prices are on the rise again nationwide after OPEC+ announced a cut in oil production last week, which provoked condemnations and a response from the White House.

The oil cartel's decision to cut oil production by 2 million barrels beginning in October caused the price of oil to rise above $90 a barrel for the first time in several weeks, the American Automobile Association said.

The average price for a gallon of gas has climbed for three weeks in a row as of Monday, rising 13.8 cents from last week to $3.92 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.

The national average gas price is 22.5 cents higher this month compared to last and 67 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has increased 18 cents since last week as well and is now $5.04 per gallon.

“With OPEC+ deciding to cut oil production by two million barrels a day, we’ve seen oil prices surge 20%, which is the primary factor in the national average rising for the third straight week,” GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst Patrick De Hann said.

However, some areas of the country are expected to see lower gas prices as fuel refineries that went offline for maintenance are restarting, which could slow the national increase in gas prices.

"Some of the refinery snags that have caused prices to surge in the West and Great Lakes appear to be improving, with prices in those two regions likely to inch down, even with OPEC’s decision, as the drop in wholesale prices has offset the rise due to the production cut," De Haan said.

"But where gas prices didn’t jump because of refinery issues, they will rise a total of 10-30 cents due to oil’s rise, and some areas are certainly seeing the jump already. For now, I don’t expect much improvement in prices for most of the country, with California and the Great Lakes as the exception, with downdrafts likely in the days and weeks ahead,” he forecast.

Biden administration officials slammed OPEC+ for cutting oil production, calling the decision "shortsighted." Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said OPEC+ took "appalling and deeply cynical action" in a statement indicating that Congress might take up legislation to strike back at the cartel.

The White House, meanwhile, said President Joe Biden will release another 10 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to soften the blow from higher oil prices.

As the Nov. 9 midterm elections approach, the Biden administration has placed a greater focus on curbing high gas prices. The president has demanded that oil companies lower prices, and his administration has considered gas export bans and removing sanctions on Venezuela so that Chevron can pump more oil there, Insider reported.