The crisis between Russia and Ukraine fuels California’s already high gas prices, and experts expect them to get even higher in the coming months, abc7news reported.
Since the end of 2021, the state has been setting gas price records.
A new record high of $4.71 per gallon was reached on Feb. 16. Gas prices in California are expected to hover right around $5 per gallon within the next few years, according to experts.
“If Western countries come after Russia with sanctions, Russia could just say, ‘Hey, we’re just going to cut off oil,'” Patrick De Haan of GasBuddy said.
“And that could cause oil prices to spike at a time that gasoline demand is continuing to recover as COVID numbers decline.”
For certain parts of California, the pain at the pump will be even greater.
“It’s very likely that the Bay Area, especially San Francisco and San Jose will get to that $5 gallon average,” said De Haan. “Prices in the Bay Area today average about $4.81.”
In July 2022, the state’s gas tax will increase, further complicating the situation. Among the United States, only Pennsylvania taxes gasoline more heavily than California (51.1 cents per gallon), according to the Federation of Tax Administrators.
The planned tax hike is tied to rising inflation. The tax was raised from 50.5 cents to 60 cents last year. Democratic legislators are reluctant to support stopping the July gas tax increase because $500 million goes to vital programs. Governor Gavin Newsom floated a proposal to halt the tax increase, but some Democratic legislators oppose it.
The surging price of gas is already causing drivers major concern, regardless of what happens with the state gas tax.
“Over one hundred dollars for my truck and I have a car that gets great gas mileage and it costs me sixty dollars to fill it up so it’s expensive,” said Jim Brinkerhoff of Santa Clara County.
Other drivers have already begun seeking alternatives to high gas prices.
“I have an electric car and I drive my bicycle,” said Chris Kortright of Santa Clara County.
As a result of the high fuel prices, De Haan says oil companies may be more inclined to increase production.
Moreover, U.S. and Iranian nuclear talks may result in the return of crude oil from Iran.
The pain at the pump will take a while to go away, according to De Haan.
“It’s going to take us maybe a year or two to get back to normal. And for all of these issues to fade to the backdrop before we start to see more of what Californians have grown accustomed to that is $3, $4 dollars a gallon prices.”