Update: Forget being close to a record—gas prices are officially at a record high as of Monday. The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the US is now $4.14, passing the previous record of $4.11 from 2008, CNN reports. That's up 60 cents per gallon, or 17%, since Russia invaded Ukraine Feb. 24, and it's not over yet. Experts predict the nationwide average could hit $4.50 a gallon, or possibly even $5, before things turn around. Our original story from Sunday follows:
Gas prices in the US crossed a milestone Sunday and are headed for a record after jumping 9 cents per gallon since Saturday. The AAA national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas is $4.01, CNN reports, the highest it's been since 2008. At this rate, the record high of $4.11 per gallon, also set in 2008, will be eclipsed soon. "This is not the end of it," said Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service. In trading Friday, wholesale gasoline prices rose 23 cents, an increase he said will hit consumers quickly.
Supply has been disrupted since the invasion of Ukraine, with buyers staying away from Russian gas and oil in protest, per CNBC. With demand off, Russian refineries are shutting down. The disruptions multiply, said Andy Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates. "Dockworkers are refusing to unload vessels carrying oil and gas," he said. "Insurance rates are skyrocketing, causing vessel owners to cancel ship bookings loading in Russia." The US average price has jumped 13%, or 47 cents per gallon, since Russia attacked Ukraine.
Average prices in the central states are lower, topping out at $3.71. Missouri averages $3.60 a gallon, the lowest price in the US but 28 cents higher than a week ago. Californians are paying the most, $5.29. As of December, per CNN, Russian oil accounted for just 2% of US imports. But the effect of the disruption is outsize because oil prices are set on global commodity markets. The rapid jump in prices is part of what makes an impression on consumers, Kloza said. "When you get increases this quick, and this dramatic, you really scald the public," he said. (Read more gas prices stories.)