Gas prices in Georgia: Russia-Ukraine border crisis uncertainty increases price per gallon

Drivers may notice they're paying more at the gas pump lately. There are a few reasons Georgia's average price per gallon of unleaded gasoline rose to $3.33 this week.

An increase in crude oil prices during global tensions between the Russian and Ukrainian governments is one cause, experts say.

This follows a string of developments that affected the oil market and hit consumers' wallets within the past year. First, a cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline caused a brief shortage and gasoline panic in Georgia. Now, inflation has taken its toll on Americans' finances. 

European leaders don't want recent tensions to spark war between Russia and Ukraine, fearing the conflict could be bloody and household energy prices could increase further because of Europe's a dependence on Russian gas.

Russia-Ukraine border dispute's effect on gas prices

Russia supplies about 40% of European gasoline. Experts say looming sanctions are already driving up the price per gallon worldwide.


"Crude oil prices set new 2022 highs on Friday, amid concerns over how a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine could result in sanctions on Russian oil which could make the oil market even tighter than it currently is," said AAA spokesperson Montrae Waiters. "Georgians can expect pump prices to remain high for a while."

Experts hope tension won't escalate to Russia cutting off gas supplies to the west in response to sanctions. Gazprom, Russia's state-run gas producer, relies on Europe for sales to support Russian government budgets. Gazprom has cooperated with the European Union in the past.

This is why experts think Russia won’t cut off gas to Europe. Russian officials have underlined they have no intention to do that.

How much have gas prices risen in Georgia?

AAA reported Monday's state average is $1.01 more than this time last year. It increased by 22 cents in roughly one month. AAA reports average gas prices in Georgia rose 9 cents from a week ago. 

Georgia's average price still beats the national average. The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.48, 6 cents more than last week. 

Nationwide, drivers are paying on average $2.49 more per gallon than they were last year.

Where else can the U.S. buy oil, besides Russia?

Dr. Richard Sindelar, Director of the Center of International Studies at University of St. Thomas Houston said Saudi Arabia and Nigeria are potential alternative suppliers.

He said President Joe Biden could tap into the strategic reserve. 

"You would see higher gas prices until the market re-stabilized," Sindelar said. "Once something gets cut off and the spot market just reacts to any little twinge in the economy, it will definitely spiral upward."

He continued to say he expects gas prices to decrease if other markets can offset rising gas prices. 

Democratic senators proposed to temporarily suspend the federal gas tax in order to help blunt the financial pain of surging prices at the pump.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.