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Why is gas so expensive and how long will its price continue to rise?

Republican opponents are circling Joe Biden for the high inflation in the US, though prices are largely out of the president’s hands.

Republican opponents are circling Joe Biden for the high inflation in the US, though prices are largely out of the president's hands.
Bill ClarkGetty

New price records have been set across the US for fuel since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. Most recently a new barrier has been smashed - the price of a gallon gasoline is at least $4 in every state in the US.

Prices have been rising since the turn of the year. According to the AAA, the average price for a gallon of fuel was $3.28 in January. While it had been rising after the lows of the pandemic, the Russian war in Ukraine has caused a huge surge in prices.

While the national average has been greater than $4 since March, there were three midwestern states that were under $4 a gallon: Georgia, Kansas and Oklahoma. With price rises on Tuesday, these three are over the mark. Some drivers, like those in California, are paying over $6 for a gallon. The state has already proposed measures to help consumers by giving drivers a $400 payment to keep their car on the road.

With US infrastructure tailored to driving a car everywhere, the rise in fuel prices is a hit to nearly every person. This will lead to a reduction in spending on other items as people are forced to cut back, though other essentials are also being affected by inflation or shortages.

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Why is gas so expensive?

The primary reason for the high gasoline prices is the war in Ukraine. Russia is a key part of the global oil and natural gas markets. With sanctions from many western nations preventing trade with Russia’s resources, the pool of countries which are selling these resources have shrunk.

When asked out the impact of the sanctions against Russia, Phillip Braun of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management explained: “Russia is the third largest supplier of oil in the world, after the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. It produces 12% of the world’s oil supply, including 8% of the US’s supply.”

“The market for oil is global, and the removal of Russia from the global supply chain has and will continue to push the price of oil up,” he added.

As long as the war continues, or at least the western sanctions, gas prices will remain high. It could be a perfect opportunity for renewable energy and cars to come to the forefront at this time. With significant pledges to protecting the environment made at the COP26 meeting in Glasgow last November, it is hoped that nations move away from fossil fuels to make up the difference.


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