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What to Expect From Gas Prices as Oil Hits Highs Unseen in Years

Thursday marked the first time oil prices hit more than $100 a barrel since 2014.

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Oil prices have surged above $100 a barrel on Thursday, marking the first time oil prices have gone in the triple digits since 2014. These prices come after Russia's recent attacks against Ukraine, which have prompted world leaders to pursue economic retaliation against Russia.

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"Russia is the third-largest oil producer and second-largest oil exporter. Given low inventories and dwindling spare capacity, the oil market cannot afford large supply disruptions," UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo told Reuters.

The United States hasn't formally issued direct sanctions against oil and gas exports from Russia. However, President Joe Biden has acknowledged the global supply strain that will come, saying, "Defending freedom will have costs" for Americans on the homefront.

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This week marks the eighth consecutive week average gas prices have increased in the U.S. And unless the conflict in Ukraine de-escalates, it's unlikely prices will go back down.

Now the most likely source of price relief for the U.S. would come from reducing sanctions against Iran, a major oil exporter. Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, says the ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and the West in Vienna could ease the expected price increases.

"The possibility exists that a new [nuclear] deal could bring Iran's crude oil supply back to legitimate markets, helping to ease a slight portion of supply concerns," De Haan says. "While the proposition remains in the air for the time being, we're also just a few weeks away from the traditional start of the spring surge in gasoline prices, brought on by the change to summer gasoline, seasonal maintenance at refineries and rising demand. The weeks ahead could be rather ugly with rising prices, especially if Russia pursues a strong-arm invasion of Ukraine."

Related: Bitcoin Plummets Below $40,000 as Tensions Between Russia, Ukraine Escalate

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