COLORADO SPRINGS — The highest gas price set in July 2008 at $3.98 per gallon of regular unleaded gas was broken on Sunday in the Colorado Springs area.

The national average for a gallon of gasoline has risen 20 cents to $4.32, a penny less than the record high set on March 11, and $1.36 more than in 2021, according to a gas price brief by AAA.

“We are seeing high prices because demand is high and supply is low… and then we throw in the issue of Russia invading Ukraine,” said Skyler McKinley, regional director of public affairs for AAA. “There was already low supply ahead of that, but then you take Russian oil off the market and supply is really limited.”

In reference to the Russia and Ukraine crisis, McKinley cited Russian oil as accounting for 12% of all global energy exports. When some nations chose to stop buying Russian oil in protest of the war in Ukraine, the supply of oil decreased and demand rose.

Drivers may experience sticker shock as prices continue to increase and stay high into the summer driving season.

“Demand is going to increase for crude oil because folks are getting in cars… airplanes… cruise ships from that period between Memorial Day to Labor Day where people typically go on vacation,” said McKinley.

A gas price brief released by AAA shows that the price of crude oil has increased to about $110 a barrel since last week, where it cost around $100. According to an analysis of the oil market by AAA, crude prices rose after the European Union announced a proposal to ban Russian oil imports within six months, while refined product imports would be prohibited by the end of 2022.

McKinley stated that a surging demand for oil balanced against a tight supply will send prices upward. Residents of Colorado Springs should expect high gas prices all throughout 2022 and a possible drop in price after Labor Day.

Since supply is low and the market remains highly volatile, crude prices will likely continue to fluctuate in the coming months, according to the AAA brief.

“To put in perspective that we are paying high gas prices because Russian invaded Ukraine – that is small in comparison to what folks in Ukraine are dealing with or folks in surrounding countries who are worried about what Russia’s next move will be,” said McKinley. “It is a small sacrifice given the enormous sacrifices being made by other folks as a function of this conflict.”