(WFFF) — In Burlington, Vermont, gas prices have jumped over 40% in the past year. As of February 1, Burlingtonians are paying on average $3.44 per gallon, prices that haven’t been seen since 2013.
As gas prices continue to rise on a weekly basis, there is concern that the Russia-Ukraine situation could create a major disruption. Patrick De Haan, Head of Petroleum of Gas Buddy said, “The concern is if Russia does invade Ukraine, they may halt exports or limit exports.”
While many are eyeing the Ukraine border and the discussions being held by the U.N. Security Council, the geopolitical tensions aren’t the only culprits. At the start of the pandemic, people were using their cars less, lowering the demand for gasoline. Although the pandemic is still ongoing, people are using their cars more frequently, increasing the demand for gas but supply is lagging behind.
“As a result in the drop of demand at the start of the pandemic, oil prices collapsed, which caused oil companies to start collapsing and in some instances shutting down production and laying off workers,” said De Haan.
“All factors really point to much higher prices as demand starts to go up as Americans start to get outside more after winter,” De Haan said. “We also switch back to more expensive summer gasoline.”
Despite gas prices possibly increasing further, current trends indicate that supply and demand will eventually equalize. “Oil is very much a boom-bust cycle,” De Haan said. “High prices incentivize additional production, which then eventually leads to lower prices because there’s more supply.”