Chicago gas prices creep up to or pass $5, driven by Russia-Ukraine war

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Friday, March 4, 2022
Russia-Ukraine war drives gas prices to highest in years
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The Russian invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed on the country is one of the drivers pushing gas prices to heights not seen in years.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The price at the pump at some Chicago gas stations is more than $5, and is getting close to it at others. Statewide, Illinois gas prices have jumped up nearly 30 cents a gallon since last week, a direct result of the price of oil, which jumped $19 this week to over $110 a barrel, the highest price in a decade.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is the biggest reason for the rise.

"It's a volatile market. We don't know how the conflicts will end, but what happens on the other side of the world has consequences here," said Molly Hart, AAA spokesperson.

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Eric Goodman, who was on his way back to Minnesota after a work trip to Chicago, was experiencing the pain at the pump. So was Nick Nitti, who drives 90 miles a day round trip to work, meaning he makes quite a few stops at gas stations every week, and they're getting much more painful.

"You gotta do it. Gonna take a toll. Gotta get two jobs for it," he said.

Cheaper prices can be found in neighboring states, which are less expensive than Illinois, but here it's still much better than California, which has the highest gas prices in the country.

READ MORE: Russia-Ukraine crisis causes gas prices to rise, President Biden promises to soften the blow

AAA Illinois said drivers are changing their habits as a result, with more than a third driving less and many others driving shorter distances. Drivers are also going further looking for cheaper gas prices.

"I pretty much go to work and try to stay out of the car. These gas prices are just nuts," said Connor Talken, driver.

Another factor that will drive prices even higher in coming weeks: this is the time of year when stations switch over from winter to summer blend gas, which is more expensive.