Gas prices are continuing to surge up with no signs of slowing down, according to the American Automobile Association.
The national average for gas is $3.46 per gallon as of Tuesday, slightly up from yesterday’s average of $3.44 and nearly a dollar more than last year’s average of $2.47.
That means the average person is spending about $12 more to fill up a tank of gas in a medium-sized car.
According to AAA, the reasons behind the higher gas prices are a combination of increased demand for heating oil in the winter months and the tension between Russia and Ukraine. Some 100,000 Russian troops deployed near Ukraine are increasing worries that an offensive could be days away, creating diplomatic tensions within Europe and among its allies like the United States.
Ukraine’s effect on gas prices: Here’s what Russia’s conflict in Ukraine could mean for US fuel, energy prices
What’s everyone talking about? Sign up for our trending newsletter to get the latest news of the day
Russia is a member of OPEC+, and any sanctions based on their actions toward Ukraine may cause it to withhold crude oil from the global market. The price of crude oil is a key determiner for prices at the pump.
“This shows how events on the other side of the globe can have a noticeable impact right here in the U.S,” says AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross in a release. “And unfortunately for drivers, they are reminded of this by higher prices at the pump.”
Prices are also expected to continue to rise.
De Haan and another respected price watcher, Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service, both independently predict $4 a gallon gas prices nationally by Memorial Day, traditionally the kickoff weekend to summer. And that’s if Russia doesn’t unleash an attack on Ukraine before then.
“Unfortunately it looks like the pain at the pump may continue to worsen, after oil prices saw another strong round of gains last week,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said. “The upward momentum in crude prices has been driven by geopolitical concerns related to Russia, cold weather and underwhelming global crude output.
The top most expensive markets in the nation continue to be California ($4.68), Hawaii ($4.40) and Washington ($3.95).
Contributing: Chris Woodyard
Michelle Shen is a Money & Tech Digital Reporter for USA TODAY. You can reach her @michelle_shen10 on Twitter.