The conflict in Ukraine is already impacting gas prices in the United States, as the national average gas price hit $3.54 a gallon compared to $2.65 this time last year, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA) report on Thursday.
Earlier in the week, average prices were $3.51 a gallon, said the AAA.
“Russia is one of the leading oil producers globally, behind only the United States and Saudi Arabia and if they choose to withhold their oil from the global market, such a move would eventually be reflected in higher gas prices for American drivers,” said AAA spokesman Andrew Gross.
Russia provides 10 percent of the global supply of natural gas and oil and roughly 40 percent of the European Union’s.
Analysts say that motorists may expect prices to rise as much as $4 a gallon throughout the United States by early spring due to the Russian incursion into Ukraine, should the conflict drag on.
The last time crude oil prices neared the $4 benchmark in July 2008, average U.S. gas prices peaked at $4.10, due to a strike by Brazilian oil workers and threats to the oil supply from Nigeria and Iran.
American and European sanctions will undoubtedly impact access to that supply due to violence in Ukraine, which a critical transit hub for oil and gas shipments.
President Joe Biden responded on Thursday with the first round of economic sanctions against Russia and threatened more if the Kremlin did not withdraw its forces.
“President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” said Biden.
Biden has sought to reassure Americans that energy prices will stay under control after announcing sanctions against Russia by monitoring supplies for disruptions and by coordinating with oil suppliers.
“We’re closely monitoring energy supply for any disruption, and we’re executing a plan … toward a collective investment to secure stability in global energy supplies,” Biden said.
By Bryan Jung