LOCAL

Asheville gas prices up 33 cents in a month, likely to climb higher amid Russian invasion

John Boyle
Asheville Citizen Times
Gas prices continue to rise in the Asheville area, a result of tensions arising from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This Citgo station in Fletcher was charging $3.49 a gallon on Feb. 28, 2022, similar to other stations in the area.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is hitting local motorists in the wallet.

Gas prices have risen nationwide, including in the Asheville metro area, where prices have jumped 15 cents a gallon over the past week and 33 cents over the past month, according to AAA Carolinas. In the Asheville market Feb. 28, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas was $3.55, compared to $3.22 a month ago.

Diesel mechanic Chris Miller has definitely noticed.

"I drive from Columbus (in Polk County) to Fletcher (in Henderson County) every day for work -- it's 30 miles one way," Miller said Feb. 28 as he pumped gas at the Citgo station in Fletcher. "Right now I'm spending a $120 a week on gas."

Miller drives older model Nissan Xterra with $264,000 miles. He's a family man, so he says more money toward gas means less money for everything else.

At $3.49 a gallon at the Citgo, the cost ran up quick. Other stations in the area had similar prices Feb. 28.

Chris Miller, a diesel mechanic, drives 30 miles one way every day to his job in Fletcher. He's definitely noticed gas prices rising, as he's spending a $120 a week for the commodity.

Like a lot of Americans right now, Miller is watching the situation with Russia and Ukraine, and hoping prices will stabilize.

"I'm hoping it will go down, but I'm expecting it to go up," he said.

In a news release, Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, said the world is on edge right now.

"Russia’s invasion and the responding escalating series of financial sanctions by the U.S. and its allies have given the global oil market the jitters,” Gross said. "Like the U.S. stock market, the oil market responds poorly to volatility. It’s an explosive situation, and a grim reminder that events on the far side of the globe can have a ripple effect for American consumers.”

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AAA noted the national average for a gallon of gas was $3.61, which is 26 cents more than a month ago and 90 cents more than a year ago. The North Carolina average stood at $3.55 a gallon, up 12 cents from a week ago, which landed us among the top 10 states for largest weekly increases, according to AAA.

Gas prices in the Asheville metro area have risen 15 cents a gallon over the past week, in part because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The states with the largest weekly increases: Michigan (+18 cents), South Carolina (+16), Kansas (+15), Missouri (+15), Indiana (+14), Illinois (+14), Tennessee (+14), Georgia (+13), North Carolina (+12) and Arizona (+10).

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In Asheville, the gas price tracking website GasBuddy.com said the lowest price in the area Feb. 28 was $3.09 a gallon, and the average price $3.51. Several stations showed prices at $3.55.

Buncombe County's average price stood at $3.55 a gallon, while Henderson stood at $3.58, Haywood $3.51, McDowell $3.43 and Transylvania $3.56, according to AAA.

In a news release, AAA Carolinas said, "Gas prices in the Carolinas have been on a constant upward trend with no signs of slowing down, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine roiled the oil market and caused crude to briefly spike to over $100 a barrel before settling back into the mid $90s. The driving factor behind higher gas prices continues to be the increase in the global price of oil."

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Tiffany Wright, spokesperson for AAA Carolinas said, "Motorists are definitely experiencing the ripple effect of things at the pump with prices steadily increasing.” 

Gas prices have been rising well before the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, part of overall inflation that has put a crimp in Americans' spending ability. 

Gas prices in the Asheville metro area have risen 15 cents a gallon over the past week, in part because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"The increase in gas demand and a reduction in total supply contribute to rising pump prices," AAA said on its website. "But increasing oil prices play the lead role in pushing gas prices higher. Pump prices will likely continue to rise as crude prices continue to climb.

TradingEconomics.com noted the "annual inflation rate in the U.S. accelerated to 7.5% in January of 2022, the highest since February of 1982 and well above market forecasts of 7.3%, as soaring energy costs, labor shortages, and supply disruptions coupled with strong demand" fueled the surge.

"Energy remained the biggest contributor (27% vs 29.3% in December), with gasoline prices surging 40% (49.6% in December)," TradingEconomics noted.