War in Ukraine spikes oil prices, consumers pay price at pumps

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Michigan gasoline prices spiked 5 cents overnight Wednesday – an ongoing result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to AAA’s gas price tracker, Ingham County residents can expect to pay an average of $3.70 per gallon for regular 87 unleaded fuel. 

According to the Detroit Free Press, experts predict fuel prices could be as high as $4.25 by mid-March. 

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has many countries bracing for major disruptions to the crude oil supply chain. The Brent Oil Benchmark, the globally recognized standard, now values a barrel of oil at $113. This comes barely a week after the benchmark reached the triple digit mark for the first time in 7 years.

The cheapest gas in East Lansing wad at the Admiral gas station on Grand River, just east of the Michigan State campus, where prices were $3.59 a gallon. Other local stations such as the Marathon at Trowbridge and Abbott are charging $3.79 per gallon, a 20 cent difference for two gas stations barely a mile apart.

Residents aren’t alarmed by gas prices, yet. Mark Naccarato, a Lansing resident who was filling up at the Trowbridge Marathon shrugged off the expense, “I need it, so I’ll pay it. It is what it is. I have to drive my car.” 

James Ashley, a younger resident, shared similar feelings saying, “They’re definitely more than I’d like to be paying, but I have to pay it, so I will.” Ashley doesn’t expect current gas prices to affect his lifestyle, but worries that prices as high as $4.25 will “make him sweat a little.” 

Many residents echoed similar feelings about the necessity of gas saying they’ll pay whatever they need to fill their tank. With the United States facing multiple economic struggles such as alarming inflation numbers and major supply chain disruptions, prices have increased in many commodities. Considering this along with the necessity of gas, it’s clear why residents seem so apathetic about one more rising expense. 

Some residents are more concerned than others. Levar Clark, a middle-aged East Lansing resident, said “I’ll definitely be a lot more conscious when filling up.” Gas prices are up nearly a dollar from a year ago. Clark, who drives a fuel-efficient Chevy Cruze, fills up 2-4 times a month and is already paying $25-$50 more monthly than he was last year. If prices reach the $4 mark or higher, his fuel expenses will have doubled.

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