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Coloradans hit the gas pumps in anticipation of higher prices due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Posted at 9:41 PM, Feb 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 23:41:18-05

DENVER — Gas prices have increased by nearly 90 cents a gallon in the United States within the last year, and they are expected to climb following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has created uncertainty in the global market.

An anticipated rise at the pump prompted many to fill up their vehicles, empty tank or not, at the King Soopers gas station in Edgewater.

"I guess the unknown is always a little bit like, 'Oh geez,'" said Rishelle Aragon.

Fred Gray was next in line for the pump.

"It kind of bums me out that gas is going to go up," he said.

The expected increase in price can be directly correlated with the turmoil overseas, according to Ian Lange, director of mineral energy and economics at the Colorado School of Mines.

"The market generally doesn't like uncertainty and turmoil," Lange said.

The issue is even more apparent when considering that Russia is an oil and gas powerhouse, as president and CEO of the Colorado Oil and Gas Assocation Dan Haley points out.

"It's the instability of where you're going to get that product from," Haley said. "For example, Russia produces about 10% of the oil that the world uses, and they produce about 30% of the natural gas that Europe uses. So when you begin to see instability over there, it creates problems throughout the marketplace. Prices then rise, and we end up having to pay more at the pump and more to heat our homes."

While natural gas prices were higher than normal before, experts believe they will increase even more in the coming weeks and months.

"I'm not not excited about it," Aragon said.

Leading up to the invasion, Colorado gas prices jumped about six cents per gallon, but experts believe the conflict overseas won't boost gas prices up in Colorado as much as it would in some other parts of the country, according to Haley.

"We're fortunate that we're able to produce this resource here in Colorado," Haley said. "When you produce it closer to home, it brings your costs down."