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Gas prices continue to soar; expert says relief likely not coming soon

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Posted at 7:58 PM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 19:59:56-04

INDIANAPOLIS — It has been costing us a lot more to fill up the tank lately — and gas prices are soaring once again.

According to GasBuddy, an industry tracker, the average price is $4.38 per gallon.

"Not adjusting for inflation, Indiana is at a record high the price in Indianapolis today at $4.38 a gallon. It has never been higher," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

As countries across the globe continue to sanction oil from Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine, De Haan says gas prices will stay high. Now, the European Union has been discussing doing the same thing which is causing the hike in prices we are seeing now.

"What's becoming very much a likely outcome is that the European Union which gets four and a half million barrels a day from Russia is going to cut Russia off,” said De Haan. “If they do ... Russia is one of the world’s largest oil producers; there is nowhere else, no other country that has four and a half million barrels laying around."

Another reason people are seeing higher gas prices is that refineries aren't producing as much due to the time of the year.

"Demand is very high,” said De Haan. “Refining capacity though is low right now because they are in maintenance season right before the summer. So, they are not able to produce as much gasoline so gasoline inventories have been declining in the last few weeks and that's part of the reason there has been that disconnect."

That's one reason gas prices have stayed high even though the price of oil per barrel has dropped. Many people may have noticed that the price per barrel is the same as it was back in 2008, the last time gas prices were extremely high. However, gas prices weren’t this high. De Haan says it has to do with taxes since they have increased since back then.

"Taxes have gone up and Hoosiers know that,” said De Haan. “In fact, gas taxes just went up last month again. So, you have to look at how taxes have increased over time as well to explain why that relationship changes over time."

So, you might be wondering when will we see some relief. According to De Haan, it could be a while.

"We are not going to get back to the twos and maybe the threes — the low threes — until supply increases or demand decreases,” said De Haan. “Supply is not going to increase until countries end their sanctions on Russia."

That's why AAA says there are some things you can do in the meantime, and it starts by slowing down.

"Use cruise control to maintain that constant speed that's another thing we really recommend for people,” said Lisa Wall with the AAA Hoosier Motor Club “In addition make a good plan when you go out combine errands."

AAA also recommends not letting your car idle for long periods of time, which can cost a lot of gas. It also recommends keeping your car well maintained, this can increase your fuel economy.