The average price of gasoline in the Philadelphia area rose overnight to $4.30 a gallon, according to AAA, up 51 cents this week as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to impact global energy prices.
Last year this time, the average price of gasoline in and around the city was $2.95 a gallon. It’s the highest average price of gasoline in Philadelphia on record, topping the previous high of $4.16 per gallon in June 2008.
In South Jersey, where fuel taxes are lower than in Philadelphia, the average price was $4.09 a gallon. In Delaware, drivers averaged $4.10 a gallon at the pump, according to AAA.
The national average is $4.06 a gallon, up 45 cents in the last week, according to AAA. Last year at this time, the average cost of a gallon of gas was $2.76.
» READ MORE: Gas prices are up. How high will they go?
Why are gas prices so high right now?
Prices are rising rapidly due to Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, which has caused the price of oil to surge, but the price of crude oil had been increasing before the February 24 invasion as well. There is also uncertainty as lawmakers in the United States and Europe consider a ban on Russian oil and gas imports, which have not yet been included in sanctions on the country and its leader, President Vladimir Putin.
“The Russian invasion is throwing uncertainty and emotions into the market. The price of oil, and with it, the price of gasoline has spiked much faster than anyone had anticipated,” said Villanova University chemical engineering professor Scott Jackson, who expects gasoline prices to approach $5 a gallon across the region.
Last week, Senators Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) introduced a bill that would ban Russian oil and gas from being imported. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said she supports such a ban. Russia accounts for about 10% of the global supply of oil.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Friday that the administration was “considering a range of options” but remains wary of impacting energy prices and supplies.
“What we know is that, you know, from the U.S. economy, we don’t import a lot of Russian oil, but we are looking at options that we can take right now if we were to cut the U.S. consumption of Russian energy,” Psaki said. “But what’s really most important is that we maintain a steady supply of global energy.”
Oil prices surged to their highest levels since 2008 on Sunday, before pulling back. West Texas Intermediate crude futures, the U.S. oil benchmark, traded at about $120 a barrel Monday afternoon after hitting $130 a barrel overnight. Brent crude, the international benchmark, was trading at about $123 a barrel Monday afternoon.
Prices for crude oil and gasoline will likely continue to rise for the rest of the winter and into the spring, AAA says.