Why Are Gas Prices So High Right Now?

Prices as the gas pump

Gasoline prices are displayed at a gas station on March 6, 2022 in San Mateo County, California. (KCM/Getty Images)

Here’s why you’re feeling pain at the pump. 

Gas prices are hitting record highs as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues to escalate. 

The fuel-savings app GasBuddy said Monday that the average price of U.S. gas reached a new all-time record of $4.104 a gallon, which surpasses the previous record of $4.103, which was set back in 2008. To put that into perspective, the national average jumped by 49.1 cents per gallon over just the last seven days.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this pain at the pump will likely go away anytime soon, as forecasters anticipate these sky-high costs could stick around for much longer than they did when the last record was set.

We’re breaking down how the ongoing crisis in Ukraine is affecting gas prices, what the White House is doing about it, and how you can personally mitigate rising costs. 

What’s causing fuel prices to rise?

There are a number of factors at play. For one thing, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has undoubtedly put pressure on global oil markets. And as USA Today notes, there has also been an increase in demand as states lift their mask mandates and many residents head out for their spring vacations.

This comes as President Biden on Tuesday announced a ban on all Russian oil imports over the country’s invasion of Ukraine, which would be the latest in a number of harsh sanctions imposed by the White House. While the move could drive up fuel costs even more, Biden vowed to do everything he could to protect Americans at home.

“Putin’s war is already hurting American families at the gas pump,” Biden said. “I’m going to do everything I can to minimize Putin’s price hike here at home,” he said

Where is gas the most expensive?

The west is facing the brunt of these rising costs, but the eye-popping figures are showing up across the nation. Here are the 10 states where consumers’ wallets are hurting the most:

California: $5.34

Hawaii: $4.69

Nevada: $4.59

Oregon: $4.51

Washington: $4.44

Alaska: $4.39

Illinois: $4.30

Connecticut: $4.28

New York: $4.26

Pennsylvania: $4.23

What can consumers do about these costs?

As frustrating and stressful as these rising costs can be, there are some things you can do. The best thing to do to keep your gas expenses down is to take advantage of gas apps like those from GasBuddy, AAA, or Gas Guru (all of which are available on both Apple and Android devices). How you pay could also help a lot: Some stations offer a discounted rate if you pay with cash instead of a credit card. 

There are also a number of other ways to save, such as reducing the number of trips you take and making sure your car is running more efficiently by checking your tires. Just slowing down and reducing your speed can even make a difference, according to GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan.

“Reducing your speed to 65 on the highway can increase fuel economy by as much as 15 to 20 percent,” he told Yahoo! News.