WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Many Kansans went to bed after the news that Russia had invaded Ukraine, and they woke up to another shock when they saw the price of gasoline skyrocket to $3.49 at some local gas stations.
In a news conference on Facebook Live, GasBuddy broke down what kind of impact the Russian invasion of Ukraine will have on Kansans who are stopping at the pump.
“First and foremost, the price of oil took a big jump up today, which is hardly unexpected,” GasBuddy Head of Petroleum Analysis Patrick De Haan said. “Earlier this morning the price of oil had jumped as much as eight percent.”
De Haan said that the price increase will “play out over the next several days” and also said that the price will likely rise slowly over the next few weeks, as much as five to 15 cents per gallon in some areas.
Most states, De Haan said, will see an increase of 5-10 cents per gallon in the next one to two weeks.
According to De Haan, the situation in Russia could significantly impact energy prices in the US, because Russia is the second-largest oil producer in the world. The United States is still the number one oil producer in the world.
Nationally, De Haan said that the average could see a jump to over $4 per gallon. As of Thursday, the national average is $3.55 per gallon. De Haan said that that number could jump to $3.60 or $3.65 “in the next couple of weeks,” before potentially hitting $4 per gallon in April.
“$4 per gallon, that is definitely a possibility for the national average by April or May,” De Haan said.
The all-time record high for the national average is $4.10, which was set in 2008. De Haan said it is not out of the realm of possibility that that record is broken. It is unlikely, however, that the national average finds its way into the six or seven dollar per gallon mark.
“I do not expect anywhere, aside from California, to see anything remotely close to six dollars,” De Haan said. “Even in California, the six-dollar mark is not likely to be hit, in terms of an average, unless the situation in Russia worsens dramatically.”
Previous forecasts for the price of gasoline already saw prices increasing, but last night’s events have caused more problems. President Biden’s announcement of heavier sanctions could create a ripple effect.
“Now that Russia has attacked Ukraine, the situation escalates,” De Haan said. “We saw President Biden earlier this afternoon talking about sanctions on Russia, what that looks like, and now a further escalation in response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
“This sets off a chain of events that could likely continue to increase the pace and the temperature of the situation,” De Haan said.
GasBuddy said that they forecasted the national average to be $3.41 per gallon, and they expect it to be either at that number or higher. De Haan said there is an increased risk that they will need to revise their projections in light of the invasion of Ukraine.
De Haan said that you can expect to see prices rise again as early as Thursday night, as fuel tanker trucks are already seeing the increase. He also said that the conflict in the east is not the only factor when it comes to gas prices. many gas stations are starting to make the switch to “summer gasoline,” which is more expensive and is mandated by the EPA under the Clean Air Act.
For more information, you can watch the news conference in its entirety by clicking here. You can also tune in to KSN News at 5, 6, and 10 for more local information.