Gas prices are skyrocketing around the US – with little sign of slowing down – as the Russia-Ukraine war drives more pain at the pump for American motorists.
The national average price of a gallon of gas was approximately $3.84 – up by a shocking 27 cents compared to just one week ago, according to data from the American Automobile Association (AAA). Costs have increased by more than $1 per gallon compared to the same period a year ago.
With prices increases at a rapid rate, the US may be just weeks away from the highest national average on record – shattering the previous high of $4.11 in July 2008. Gas Buddy analyst Patrick De Haan expects the country to hit the $4.10 barrier before the start of April.
“The bulk of what we’re seeing still has to do with the Russia-Ukraine situation,” De Haan said regarding the recent hikes. “If that situation worsens or if it escalates, the impact could be more severe.”
Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has only added to disruptions in global energy marketplace – where suppliers were already struggling to meet surging demand as countries recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gas prices are rising alongside oil prices. West Texas Intermediate crude oil – the US benchmark for prices – was trading above $112 per barrel on Friday afternoon. The same index was at approximately $90 just one month ago.
“While the US has not yet directly put sanctions on Russia’s energy, previous sanctions on Russia’s banking and shipping industries is essentially putting a chokehold on Russian oil exports, which have plummeted,” De Haan said. “Certainly those existing sanctions are having a significant impact, and that’s why oil have continued to go up in recent days.”
Drivers in New York state are paying some of the steepest prices in the country. The statewide average price per gallon was $4.05 – higher than the national average and up nearly 30 cents compared to one week ago.
Prices are even higher on the West Coast. In California, the statewide average has eclipsed $5 per gallon – the most expensive on record since AAA has tracked data.
As the Post previously reported, some analysts warn its possible that the national average could eventually surpass $5 per gallon – especially if international sanctions lead Russia to curb oil exports.
The Biden administration already faces mounting pressure to take actions that would alleviate costs to American households.
“I will use every tool at our disposal to protect American businesses and consumers,” President Biden said during his State of the Union address.
Earlier this week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned that the fuel crisis would cause inflation, which already hit a four-decade high of 7.5% in January – to surge even higher in the days ahead.