Mar 7, 2022 - Business

Gas prices skyrocket

gas pump
A motorist pumps gas at a station in Chicago. Photo: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Chicagoans already dealing with higher gas prices at the pump could see the all-time record broken this week.

Why it matters: With the U.S. eyeing a ban on Russian oil imports, drivers are seeing prices for unleaded gas exceed $5 a gallon at some stations.

  • The Russian invasion of Ukraine pushed oil prices up $24 a barrel last week. That represents a 60-cent swing at the pump.

What they're saying: "It's likely more are on the way as it can take days/week(s) before retail prices fully reflect swings in the oil/futures market," AAA spokesperson Molly Hart tells Axios.

By the numbers: According to AAA, the average gas price in Chicago right now is $4.53 a gallon. Illinois' average is also surging at $4.26 per gallon.

  • The highest average gas price ever recorded here was $4.68 in 2012.
  • Last year, the average price was $3.18.

Yes, but: It's not just the invasion driving up the price of gas.

  • Several refineries still aren't back at pre-pandemic levels and also perform seasonal maintenance in the spring, leading to temporary production cuts.
  • Plus, the truck driver shortage is affecting fuel trucks.

What's next: "Gas prices fluctuate seasonally – in the winter the prices are lower as not as many people are taking road trips and the winter blend of gasoline is cheaper to make," Hart says.

  • "In the spring, gasoline turns to the summer blend, which is more expensive to make."

Go deeper: AAA updates gas prices daily by county.

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