Expert says CA gas prices could rise to $6 per gallon, or higher, with more sanctions to Russia

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Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Russian sanctions: CA could see $6 average for gas, expert says
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California gas prices may continue rising after President Joe Biden announced the United States will ban all Russian imports of gas, oil and energy.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- President Joe Biden announced Tuesday the United States will ban all Russian imports of gas, oil and energy as part of the latest sanctions against the country.

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"This is a step we're taking to inflict further pain on Putin, but there will be cost as well here in the United States," President Biden said. "I said I would level with the American people from the beginning and when I first spoke to this, I said defending freedom is gonna cost. It's gonna cost us as well in the United States."

Experts say the sanction will lead to an increase in gas prices locally but, by how much? It could be more than some anticipated.

We told you last week that California was the first state ever to reach an average of $5 per gallon. We currently sit at a $5.45 average, higher than other states, which experts say is due to gas taxes and other factors. But, this latest sanction could bring it even higher.

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California is the first state ever to have an average price above $5 a gallon, according to

"We're at an all-time high in the U.S., but this is not just a U.S. issue," Head of Petroleum Analysis Patrick De Haan said. "This is a global phenomenon. It's not just us in this boat, every country that consumes gasoline is seeing prices dramatically higher. I'm a little bit concerned California could reach the six dollar a gallon average."

De Haan said today in a Facebook Live that our consumption of gas and the cost of gas for stations cause the prices to go up.

It's like the housing market - supply drives demand and gas costs more.

Thankfully, San Jose State University Economics Professor Matthew Holian says many oil companies have curbed Russian oil use in preparation for these sanctions.

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He's hoping for only a modest increase in price.

"We don't import a lot of Russian oil," Holian said. "I think it's in the single digits in terms of the fraction of oil that we import. So, effectively it's not a big hit to our supply."

Both experts anticipate the pace of the increase in price should slow down. But, that could change if further sanctions come from other countries.

"If other countries stopped importing Russian oil, that would cause the price of oil to go up even more," Holian said.

"If the EU would cut off Russian energy, that would cause an absolute explosion in the cost of oil," De Haan said.

DeHaan added that isn't anticipated to happen, but the U.S. sanctions will still be felt at the pumps in the coming days.