Looks like we might be paying over $4 for a gallon of gas again.

Pain at the pump

The entire country witnessed its largest one-day increase in the price of regular gas on Wednesday, when prices surged by an average of 4 cents. The last time gas jumped that much was on June 7, 2022.

While the national average sits at $3.64 a gallon, Central New Yorkers are feeling a bigger pinch.

According to AAA, the Utica-Rome residents are paying even more to fill up their tanks than the majority of the state.

A gallon of regular gas was $3.78 on Tuesday. That price rose to $3.80 this morning.

The state average as of Wednesday is $3.79, but residents can enjoy a literal bargain if they head to Batavia, which has a current average of $3.63 a gallon.

Gas Prices in New York by County as of 072623 Graphic
Credit: AAA American Automobile Association gasprices.aaa.com

The highest price in any NY metro area can be found in Glens Falls, which is averaging $3.85 for a gallon of regular gas.

White Plains is the only other place with higher gas prices than the Utica-Rome area, which is selling regular unleaded gas for $3.81 a gallon.

In all, this is still better than what we were paying a year ago. Last year at this time, residents were paying an average of $4.56 a gallon for regular gas.

Why are prices going up?

National gas prices rose by 8 cents on average this week alone.

Patrick De Haan, who is head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.com, warned the numbers will only go up from here.

As for what's causing this sudden jolt, experts are pointing a finger at the extreme heat blanketing large swaths of the nation, which is boosting demand for gas.

The heat is also causing American refineries to limit their production during this period of high demand. The heat is increasing their odds of experiencing power outages, which could have catastrophic consequences on the supply chain.

The heat isn't just impacting America, it's also affecting global refinery operations by forcing countries, like Saudi Arabia, to burn oil to keep their electrical grids online as they combat record-high heat.

Another possible instigator is the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which voted in the fall to slash daily output by 5 million barrels through July.

This surge in gas prices is also matched by the skyrocketing costs of wheat and other grain exports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued strikes on the Ukrainian export city of Odesa in retaliation of the 12-mile bridge connecting Russia with the annexed Crimea being damaged.

Russia also recently backed out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which had allowed Ukraine to continue supplying the world with its grains through its ports in Odesa.

Experts say this could cause wheat and grain prices to soar by 15 percent.

Field Of Barley
Getty Images

Ukraine is known as the "breadbasket of Europe" due to its rich black soil and favorable climate that provides ample conditions for growing grains. This makes Ukraine one of the world's top exporters in grain and corn.

Factoring in the rising cost of gas, the United States is in jeopardy of seeing inflation surge even higher. Higher food and energy prices are re-igniting concerns of a even more interest rate hikes and the possibility of a recession.

What else can go wrong?

Remember last week's article about how the extreme heat might lead to an even rougher hurricane season? Guess what.

Florida Remains On Alert As Hurricane Dorian Nears Atlantic Coast
Photo by NOAA via Getty Images

If the heat does produce a more active hurricane season, refineries on the Gulf Coast could be damaged

Remember Hurricane Ida and what she did to gas prices back in 2021?

The Category 4 hurricane slammed into Louisiana, which is one of the nation's largest hubs for petroleum and natural gas. Multiple refineries shut down or limited production to repair the extensive damage.

Hurricane Harvey in 2019 had a similar ripple effect in national gas prices.

So with everything going on in 2023 - AND we throw in a catastrophic hurricane? We might be looking at a perfect storm for our economy, let alone gas prices.

In all, things aren't looking too great for our gas tanks -- and wallets.

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