Gas prices have been going higher and higher, and now the average price in one California city has officially topped $5 per gallon on average at the pump.
California is nearly always at the top of the list for most expensive gas prices in the U.S., and now the highest reported cost is $5.07 per gallon, KGO-TV reported.
Throughout the San Francisco Bay area, drivers are feeling the price hikes. For the first time in any U.S. city, average prices have crossed the $5 per gallon mark, according to The Mercury News in San Jose.
“We just got a raise, but it doesn’t feel like it. Gas is eating the hell out of it,” Jame Hayes, an iron-worker, told The Mercury News.
While Los Angeles and San Francisco were the first places to go above $5 for gas, all along the West Coast, gas is costing more that $4 per gallon on average, KGO reported.
These price spikes are, in part, a spillover from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Since Russia controls so much of the oil market in the West, particularly Europe, when Russia invaded Ukraine, the market shifted.
Now oil is costing more than $110 per barrel, CNN reported. The entire global oil market is being hit, and even though the U.S. is not directly all that reliant on Russian oil, the overall spike in costs is now hurting Americans at the gas station.
“The market panic is here. The initial upward price reaction after the conflict in Ukraine started six days ago is only intensifying,” said Louise Dickson, senior oil market analyst at Rystad Energy, CNN reported.
While California and the West Coast are currently suffering the worst prices, the national average price is up to $3.78 a gallon, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, announced, CBS News reported.
The national average now stands at $3.781/gal, up an amazing 20c/gal from a week ago.
— Patrick De Haan ⛽️📊 (@GasBuddyGuy) March 4, 2022
Meanwhile, the Biden administration released about 60 million barrels of oil from the national reserve in an attempt to ease the gas price inflation.
But experts have said this move is more of a political statement and not any sort of practical solution. Releasing 60 million barrels of oil from the reserves won’t make a big impact, Ed Hirs, a University of Houston Energy Fellow, and Ian Lange, an associate professor of economics and business at Colorado School of Mines, said, WUSA News reported.
“Both agree the oil won’t have a significant impact on the price of U.S. gasoline. The U.S. consumes between 15-20 million barrels of oil a day,” WUSA reported.
“The bottom line is this is not enough to cool off the market. It’s a bit of a band-aid solution,” said Michael Tran, managing director of global energy strategy at RBC Capital Markets, according to CNN.
Other experts continue to predict that as the Ukraine-Russia war continues, so will U.S. inflation and rising gas prices.
“We think the Russia-Ukraine war will intensify global and U.S. inflation pressures by pushing up oil and gas prices,” said Brian Coulton, chief economist with credit rating agency Fitch, in an email to CBS News.
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