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US Gas Prices Top $4 Per Gallon in the Wake of Russia-Ukraine Conflict, Further Increase Expected

Gasoline prices spike in Miami Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)
Gasoline prices spike in Miami Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

For the first time in nearly 15 years, the average price of gas has exceeded the $4 mark - another economic effect of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The current national average gas price is $4.009 a gallon, up 9 cents since Saturday and 47 cents since Russia invaded Ukraine 11 days ago, according to AAA's website.

Crude oil, which is a main component of gasoline, accounts for 56 percent of what Americans pay at the pump. The Ukraine-Russia conflict bumped U.S. oil prices on Thursday to their highest level since 2008, at over $100 a barrel.

"The single biggest issue is definitely what's happening to oil prices," said Andrew Hunter, a senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics. "It looks like there's more pain to come, unfortunately." 

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During his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Biden said the U.S. would release 30 million barrels from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve to safeguard consumers from the soaring prices.

However, the average continues to climb. 

"A Russian dictator invading a foreign country has costs around the world," Biden said. "These steps will help blunt gas prices here at home."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday the U.S. is considering a ban on Russian oil.

"The actions we've taken to date have already had a devastating impact on the Russian economy," he said on NBC. "We've seen the ruble in free fall. We see the economy heading into a deep recession. We've already had a major impact, but we are looking, again, as we speak, in coordination with allies and partners at this prospect of banning oil imports." 

AAA offers several tips on how to save on fuel while on the road: 

  • Regular vs. Premium Gas - unless premium fuel is recommended or required by your car's manufacturer, it provides no added benefit.
  • Avoid excessive idling - Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in winter. It's unnecessary and wastes fuel. Where it is safe, shut off your engine if you will be stopped for more than a minute.
  • Adjust your speed - Watch your speed when approaching traffic lights or stop signs. Take your foot off the gas early and allow your car to coast down to a slower speed until it is time to brake. Reduce repeated braking and acceleration, which consumes additional fuel. 

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