Why are gas prices so high?

Sophia Tunks , Reporter

Shell gas station sign displays recent gas prices in San Diego, California. Photo taken by ekornblut/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Political tensions and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have caused a growing difference between supply and demand in the US. Energy costs have been one of the main factors in what has quickly become the highest inflation in the generation. 

Since the global pandemic continues to create uncertainty with supply and demand, energy prices have continued to rise and fall violently.

Early in the pandemic, the price of oil fell below zero for the first time ever, according to The New York Times. However, today’s oil prices are at their highest point since 2014. The average price for regular gasoline today is close to $3.40 a gallon—almost a dollar more than last year, according to AAA. AAA also states that gas prices have since increased 17% since Wednesday. 

Besides the pandemic, current tensions with Russia have also caused oil and gas prices to worsen, according to The New York Times. Russia is one of the biggest oil producers in the world, and Russian oil and petroleum products have made up about 6% of oil in the US during 2021. Since Russian attacks on Ukraine have intensified, traders, shippers, and financiers have removed much of Russian oil from the daily global supply. This has put further pressure on prices.

Oil and gas prices increased again after the U.S. came forward with a ban of Russian imports, which included crude oil, certain petroleum products, and liquefied natural gas and coal, according to WSJ. Major oil companies including Shell and BP have also said that they will not be buying oil and gas from Russia, which is causing extreme uncertainty in gas prices. 

The Biden Administration has promised to try and help Americans through the difficulties of high gas prices. According to CNN, Biden said, “I want to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump. This is critical to me.” Biden pledges to use every tool at his disposal to limit the effect of gas prices on Americans.