With the continued escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, gas prices in the Golden Belt and across the nation are seeing historic jumps, with possible additional rises looming.
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to loss of a major oil market, in turn leading to unprecedented increases in oil prices across the country.
“We’ve never been in this situation before, with this level of uncertainty. As we lose a major global producer under the weight of deserving bipartisan sanctions for invading a sovereign country, the cost is high. Americans will be feeling the pain of the rise in prices for quite some time, with little good news foreseen,” De Haan said.
In large part due to the continued conflict in Ukraine, average gasoline prices in Kansas have risen 32.3 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.68 per gallon as of Monday morning, according to GasBuddy’s weekly survey of 1,329 stations in Kansas. Prices across the state are more than 50 cents higher than a just a month ago and stand over a dollar higher than a year ago. Prices across the state ranged from $2.99 to $4.14 per gallon, a range of $1.15 per gallon.
The statewide average gives Kansas the third-lowest gas prices in the nation, according to AAA.
As of Monday morning, fuel prices in Great Bend ranged from $3.49 to $3.65 per gallon, slightly below the state average. Barton County’s average of $3.60 is slightly below that of surrounding counties, with prices ranging from $3.61 per gallon in Ellsworth County to $3.68 in Pawnee County, according to data from AAA.
Minnesota-based crude oil supplier CHS Inc., who operates refineries throughout western and central Kansas, reports crude oil prices have risen nearly $25 per barrel in a little over a week, from $81.75 on Feb. 27, to $106 per barrel on March 6.
According to the International Energy Agency, Russia accounts for about 12% of its global trade, or about 5 million barrels per day. To buffer this rise in prices to the crude oil market, the agency last week announced a coordinated release of crude oil from its 31 member countries’ strategic reserves, including the U.S., Germany, Canada, South Korea, and Mexico. The agency expects about half of the anticipated 61.7 million barrels to come from the U.S.
Despite this, De Haan said the increase could still lead to all-time price highs at the pump across the country. According to AAA, the record mark came in July 2008, when the national average reached $4.11 per gallon.
“There are few words to describe the unprecedented rise in gasoline prices over the last week, with massive spikes coast to coast in both gasoline and diesel prices, as oil prices jump to their highest since 2008. Forget the $4 per gallon mark, the nation will soon set new all-time record highs and we could push closer to a national average of $4.50 (per gallon). California could be heading for $5.50 per gallon with more stations charging $6 and beyond,” De Haan said.
The national average price of gasoline has risen 46.5 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $4.06 per gallon Monday morning. The national average is up 61.1 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands $1.29 per gallon higher than a year ago, according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 11 million weekly price reports covering over 150,000 gas stations across the country.
The $3.68 per gallon average across the state is already the highest in more than 10 years, with prices already 7 cents higher than this date in 2012. At that time, the national average was $3.76, 30 cents lower than Monday morning’s average.