The price of a gallon of gasoline at many New Jersey service stations has shot up 60 cents over the past week, and the increase has been even higher at some stations.

Garden State residents are wondering when the price spikes will end.

According to Tom Kloza, the global head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service, the short answer is probably not anytime soon.

“As long as we have Russian troops in Ukraine it’s probably going to continue,” he said.

He said in the coming weeks, prices are expected to continue to rise at the pump.

“To a certain extent it’s a shock, but the prices right now are still, inflation-adjusted, not as bad as they were in 2008, but we may be headed to that level, this is going to be expensive,” said Kloza.

So how high will prices go?

“I don’t know if we’re talking about beyond $5 in New Jersey," Kloza said. "Right now I’m sticking with nationwide $4.50 to $4.75 but we’ll see how things happen.”

A number of scenarios could impact prices. And while the price of gas has gone way up, people who drive diesel vehicles have it even worse.

“They’re looking at $5 a gallon very soon. I mean that’s the product that’s really going nuts along with jet fuel,” he said.

Kloza noted even with the current price spike, demand for gas has not dropped — it’s surging.

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“Consumers and to a certain extent the retailers and the distributors, they kind of recognize that the next time they buy fuel it’s going to be more expensive. People are topping off their tanks, they’re filling it up knowing that there’s pretty much certainty that prices will be higher this weekend,” he said.

How can this problem be solved?

He said with growing concerns about gas prices, oil production in West Texas could be increased but that will only offer a bit of relief.

Kloza also pointed out OPEC countries may provide more oil in the near term, and there have been some discussions with leaders in Iran and Venezuela about possibly cutting a deal to allow them to provide more crude oil. But even if that does come to pass, which is a long shot at best, it would still take months to provide the oil we need.

 

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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