A leap in gasoline


Lauren Lee

While Biden helps the lives in danger in Ukraine, he also hurts the economy in the U.S. When gas prices rise, it can affect the economy and impact everything from consumer spending to the price of airline tickets to hiring practices. Gas greatly contributes to transportation, which directly impacts households as they drive, but also businesses that rely on transportation chains worldwide.

Lauren Lee, Reporter

Last week, the national average for a regular gallon of gas reached an all-time high. As of March 9, 2022, the average cost for a gallon of gas in the country reached $4.25, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). The price rose up about 8 cents from March 8, and more than 60 cents from the week before. Costs can possibly continue to increase throughout the year.

The main reasons for the increase involve President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the rise of inflation. Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told USA TODAY that sanctions put on Russia by the U.S. and European Union hindered Russia’s ability to sell crude oil, one of the biggest determiners for gas prices. Crude oil prices dramatically rose because of Russia’s significance in energy supply. According to the White House, the U.S. imported about 209,000 barrels per day of crude oil in 2021.

 March 8, 2022, President Joe Biden announced a ban on the U.S. import of all Russian energy products to target “the main artery of Russia’s economy” in the latest effort to boost sanctions over Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Though Biden said the move would deal a “powerful blow to Putin’s war machine,” he warned the decision would affect America’s prices at the pump. The president said he made the decision in consultation with European allies such as France and Germany, but they may not stand in a position to join the ban. He said the United States works closely with them to develop a “long-term strategy” to reduce their dependence on Russian energy. The ban extends to purchases of Russian crude oil, certain petroleum products, coal and liquefied natural gas. 

“I think the high gas prices arise from corporations charging more to make up for their lost profit during the early stages of the pandemic when people weren’t buying as much coupled with the concern over the Russia and Ukraine conflict. When I have to go somewhere as a family we use the more fuel-efficient car and we don’t take as many unnecessary trips. I don’t think this should be blamed on the President,” Econ and Gove teacher Tara Sisino Land said.

In Georgia, gas prices also hit an all-time high according to the AAA. Since March 7th, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has increased by 32 cents and officials say the gas prices have reached an all-time high since 2008. Georgia motorists now pay a price of $4.29 per gallon at the pump. Overall, energy costs increased more than 25% over the 12-month period. Motor fuels obtained the biggest increase (38%). Natural gas costs increased by almost 24%. 

“At Costco, the lines have been backed up since the gas prices skyrocketed. We were even on the news because people from all over Cobb County came here since we have some of the cheapest gas in the area. Last week people from inside the supermarket had to come out to direct the traffic since the lines were so long. Gas prices have been fluctuating and hopefully, they go down,” Costco gas station employee Khiera Tyler said.

Surging prices for food, gas and housing could jump even higher, according to a report released last week from the Labor Department that showed inflation rose 7.9 % over the 12-month period ending in February. The almost 8% inflation rate occurred not only because of the increase in Americans’ daily purchases, but also by 4.5% pay raises, and persistent shortages of goods and services, The Associated Press reported.  Inflation could reach 9% this month or next, directly from Russia’s war in Ukraine.