WILKES-BARRE, PENNSYLVANIA - A Sunoco gas pump reading shows more than $54 as a man pumps gas. (Photo by Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) A Sunoco gas pump reading shows more than $54 as a man pumps
WILKES-BARRE, PENNSYLVANIA - A Sunoco gas pump reading shows more than $54 as a man pumps gas. (Photo by Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Pennsylvanians are now paying an average of $5.03 for a gallon of regular gas. That’s a spike of more than 50 cents per gallon since last month.

The average price for a gallon of gasoline in Pennsylvania crossed a dubious threshold Wednesday, eclipsing the $5 mark for the first time. 

According to AAA, the current average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in the commonwealth is $5.03. That represents a significant jump from last week’s average of $4.78, and an increase of more than 50 cents per gallon from one month ago, when the average price was $4.50.

At this time last year, the average gas price in Pennsylvania was $3.18 per gallon.

Gas prices in Pennsylvania have exceeded the national average—which hit $4.95 per gallon on Wednesday—since March, when President Joe Biden ordered a ban on Russian oil imports in retaliation for Vladimir Putin’s onslaught in Ukraine.

Pennsylvania’s highest prices are currently in the northeastern part of the state, where a gallon of regular gas is averaging around $5.17 in Bradford, Pike, and Susquehanna counties.

Here’s a breakdown of the current average cost per gallon in Pennsylvania’s top 10 metro areas:

  • Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton: $5.03
  • East Stroudsburg: $5.08
  • Erie: $4.94
  • Harrisburg-Carlisle: $4.97
  • Lancaster: $4.99
  • Philadelphia: $5.10
  • Pittsburgh: $4.99
  • Reading: $5.01
  • Scranton-Wilkes-Barre: $5.13
  • York-Hanover: $4.98

To curb escalating gas prices in Pennsylvania, some Republicans want to lower or suspend the state’s ​​57.6-cent-a-gallon gas tax, which is the highest in the US. Critics of that strategy contend that there is no guarantee the savings would get passed on to consumers and worry that suspending gas taxes could hurt funding earmarked for the state police and infrastructure projects like road and bridge repairs.

Pennsylvania’s Democratic and Republican candidates for governor have differing opinions on how to deal with the gas cost crisis.

Josh Shapiro wants the state government to tap some of its unused American Rescue Plan funding (which currently totals around $2 billion) to give Pennsylvania drivers a $250 cash rebate. Shapiro’s gas tax rebate would be given to residents for each vehicle they have registered, up to four per household. Economists caution that direct payments to consumers would only contribute to the cycle of inflation by potentially creating a demand for goods that are in short supply.

State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) introduced legislation last summer that would cut Pennsylvania’s gas tax by 15 cents for six months. His bill would earmark $240 million in federal pandemic relief aid to pay for roads and bridges. It would also include a one-time fee on electric and hybrid vehicles in the state. 

The bill has been sitting in the Transportation committee since July. He has yet to offer an updated plan.
Last month, all nine of Pennsylvania’s Republican US House representatives voted against a bill aimed at combating “price gouging” on gasoline.