Why are gas prices rising so quickly? And how high are they expected to get?

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As the national average for a regular gallon of gas broke the all-time record in the United States on Tuesday, many are wondering how long this surge may continue and when prices at the pump will finally go down.

The dramatic rise in cost has sent drivers into a frenzy; Gasbuddy, the popular fuel-savings app that gives users the cost of gas in their area, had their online services go down temporarily on Monday due to record-breaking traffic as people look for the cheapest place to fill up their tank.

As of Tuesday morning, the average cost for a gallon of gas in the country is $4.17, according to AAA. The current price is up approximately 10 cents from Monday and more than 50 cents from last week.

Costs are expected to continue to rise throughout the year.

Here is what we know about current gas prices and what to expect next:

High gas prices are displayed at a Mobil station across the street from the Beverly Center on March 7, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

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Why are gas prices rising?

There are a few factors contributing to the increase, but the main reason is the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at fuel-savings app GasBuddy, told USA TODAY last week the sanctions put on Russia by the U.S. and European Union severely impacted Russia’s ability to sell crude oil, one of the biggest determiners for gas prices. Since the country is one of the biggest energy suppliers, crude oil prices have dramatically risen.

The cost for a barrel of crude oil had ups and downs on Monday. A barrel of U.S. crude oil settled at $119.40 per barrel, up 3.2%, after earlier touching $130.50. Brent crude, the international standard, settled at $123.21 per barrel, up 4.3%, after earlier topping $139, the Associated Press reported.

The sanctions could become more severe as well.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to her colleagues on Sunday the House is “exploring strong legislation” to possibly impose a ban on imports of Russian oil and energy products.

Another contributing factor De Haan previously mentioned is the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions across the country. With mandates lifted or softened, people will be out more, coinciding with the typical rise of gas costs coming as summer approaches.

AAA also said Monday the increase in gas demand and a reduction in total supply contribute to rising pump prices.

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How long will gas prices be this high? How high will gas prices get?

Gasbuddy projects the worse is yet to come for when looking at average prices.

Gasbuddy’s 2022 gasoline forecast predicts the average cost of a gallon of gas will peak in May at $4.25. Even as prices begin to decline after May, the average is expected to remain over $4 until November. The average for 2022 is expected to be $3.99.

“It’s a dire situation and won’t improve any time soon. The high prices are likely to stick around for not days or weeks, like they did in 2008, but months. GasBuddy now expects the yearly national average to rise to its highest ever recorded,” De Haan said in a Monday news release.

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Where is gas the most and least expensive?

Gas remains the most expensive in California, with the average cost at $5.44, the only state with an average above $5.

Stations across the state are seeing prices above $6, including a Shell gas station in Los Angeles, which had regular gas costing $6.99 per gallon.

The states with the cheapest cost are Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Each state’s average price is under $3.80.

Contributing: Marina Pitofsky, USA TODAY; USA TODAY staff reports; The Associated Press

Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Gas prices keep going up. How expensive is a gallon expected to get?

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