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US gas prices increase as Russia-Ukraine conflict continues

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AAA Texas is reporting the average price for a gallon of unleaded gas is up nearly 50 cents from last week in most areas of the Valley, and a AAA spokesperson says the biggest reason is the conflict in Ukraine.

"It's been climbing at a much faster pace than normal and the big reason for that is the shock from overseas with what's going on between Russia and Ukraine,” said AAA Texas spokesperson Daniel Armbruster.

Dr. Salvador Contreras, an associate professor of economics at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, says Russia is the third-largest producer of oil in the world and the war between Russia and Ukraine is disrupting their oil supply.

"Refiners consume oil that are priced in world markets and the world market for oil has said that the price of oil needs to go up in part to reflect the fact that there's uncertainty about a major producer of oil being put offline," Contreras said.

Higher oil demand means higher gas prices, not just in the Valley, but globally.

In July 2008, AAA Texas recorded that the average price of unleaded gas in most of the Valley was $3.96, the highest it's ever been. Armbruster says current prices could soar past that.

“Anything can change at any time, but if we remain on this trajectory, we will be at $4 a gallon this spring without a doubt,” Armbruster said.

Unfortunately, there isn't anything new people can do other than try to find ways to budget differently, and ultimately, find ways to use less gas.

"Driver behavior is the number one factor when it comes to fuel consumption, so adjusting your behavior behind the wheel is key,” Armbruster said.

Some tips for reducing gas consumption include avoiding accelerating too quickly, avoiding speeding, limiting AC usage and reducing the weight of your vehicle by removing any items you don't need. 

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