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Economy

As War in Ukraine Intensifies, US Gasoline Hits Record $4.17

The average price of gasoline in the U.S. hit a record $4.17 per gallon Tuesday as the country banned Russian oil imports after its invasion of Ukraine.

The national average rose by 10 cents per gallon in one day, and it’s up 55 cents since last week, according to AAA data. The previous high was set 13 years ago when the national average price hit $4.10 per gallon.

The amount of U.S. gasoline in storage fell last week as demand starts to tick higher with summer approaching. The increase in gas demand and with inventories trending lower is contributing to rising prices at the pump, but skyrocketing oil prices are playing an increasingly large role as the conflict in Ukraine escalates.

The price of benchmark U.S. crude jumped 8% Tuesday to more than $129 per barrel.

Americans can expect the current trend at the pump to continue as long as crude prices climb, the AAA said.

Rising gas prices come as President Joe Biden has decided to ban Russian oil imports, toughening the toll on Russia’s economy in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine.

“We will not be part of subsidizing Putin’s war,” Biden declared, calling the new action a “powerful blow” against Russia’s ability to fund the ongoing offensive.

The U.S. imports about 100,000 barrels a day from Russia, only about 5% of Russia’s crude oil exports, according to Rystad Energy. Last year, roughly 8% of U.S. imports of oil and petroleum products came from Russia.

Curbs on Russian oil exports will likely send already soaring oil and gasoline prices higher in both the U.S. and Europe and further squeeze consumers, businesses, financial markets and the global economy.

Energy analysts warn that crude oil prices could go as high to $160 or even $200 a barrel due to oil sanctions imposed by the West or if buyers continue shunning Russian crude.

Oil prices that high could send an average gallon of U.S. gasoline past $5 a gallon.

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