Expert says, barring any change in Ukraine, higher gas prices are here to stay

Man with no money, because gas is too expensive.
Man with no money, because gas is too expensive. Photo credit Getty Images
By , Audacy

This week the national average for the cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gas beat the all-time record set in March, as prices continue to soar. But, when should consumers expect to see more normal prices at the pump?

Patrick De Haan of the gas monitoring site GasBuddy joined News Talk 830 WCCO's Chad Hartman to discuss rising oil prices, why it's happening, and what could happen in the market next.

As of Tuesday, the national average hit $4.37, according to AAA, after prices started to fall in mid-April. De Haan says this is due to the European Union's decision to move ahead and sanction Russian oil.

"The E.U. gets four and a half million barrels a day from Russia," De Haan said. "That's a big number, and there is no rock to squeeze right now to find more oil."

De Haan says that things will get tighter, and the global scales of supply and demand for oil will tilt considerably once the E.U. cuts off Russian oil.

Unfortunately, because there appears to be no end in sight to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the reasoning behind the sanctions against Russian oil, De Haan thinks these prices will be here for a while.

"It depends on the situation," De Haan said. "Things can change quickly, but I think we are going to be stuck here until there is some sort of long-term resolution with Russia. They are a major oil producer. Producing 10 million barrels a day at full capacity is what they produce."

In order to cut off one of Russia's most lucrative industries, De Haan thinks Western countries are going to do everything they can not to fund Russia and, in return, their war on Ukraine.

But, until oil starts flowing from somewhere else, De Haan doesn't see the prices in the U.S. going down anytime soon.

De Haan took time to address the growing commentary that President Joe Biden is to blame for the rising prices after he shut down the Keystone Pipeline.

"You can build all the pipelines in the world. Pipelines don't produce crude oil," De Haan said. "You could have a hundred keystones, but that doesn't mean there is oil to fill it."

The issue is oil production, not transportation. Since the start of the year, De Haan says the U.S. has increased production by 300,000 barrels, but it isn't enough to meet demand.

Since the start of the Biden administration, De Haan says that there haven't been any legislative moves to discourage oil production domestically, only the president's agenda to wean the nation off fossil fuels.

The gas expert said nothing has changed, and oil companies are sitting with already approved drilling permits in their back pockets because "that's what they do."

"To say President Biden's impacts are being felt today, that's untrue because the oil sector moves so slow," De Haan said.

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