US gas prices could surge to $4.50 a gallon, expert says

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Gas prices hit another record Wednesday, but one expert projects things could get even worse for U.S. motorists. 

The national average retail price for a gallon of regular gasoline reached $4.40. However, Andy Lipow, the president of Lipow Oil Associates, estimated that the national average could soon surge as high as $4.50 per gallon. 

Before Russia was hit with sanctions for invading Ukraine, threatening the already tight global oil market, the national average was at $3.53, according to Lipow. 

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"The overriding fear in the market is that the world cannot make up the anticipated loss of Russian oil supplies," Lipow said in a statement. That fear is driving up oil prices, which account for more than half of the pump price.

A man checks gas prices at a gas station in Buffalo Grove, Ill., Saturday, March 26, 2022.  (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh / AP Newsroom)

Some areas of the country are already getting hit with prices nearing $6 per gallon, according to data from AAA. 

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In California, the average cost at the pump is $5.82 per gallon and in Hawaii, it's $5.28. Nevada isn't far behind, with the average cost at the pump hitting $5.11 per gallon. 

Washington is already facing an average of $4.83 per gallon, while Oregon and Alaska are facing an average of $4.81 and $4.73 per gallon, respectively. 

Lipow argued that "the only actions left for the government to reduce gasoline and diesel prices in the near term" is to suspend the federal excise tax on gasoline and diesel, which is 18 cents and 24 cents per gallon, respectively. 

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He also said the government should "continue to release crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve" although "neither of these actions increase the amount of energy that the world needs to replace lost supplies from Russia." 

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