Gas prices in the Cedar Rapids metro area are officially over $4 per gallon depending on what blend you use. Prices had been stalled and holding steady for weeks, but several factors have gas prices rising again with the summer driving season on the horizon. reports that gasoline prices are rising across the state of Iowa and the nation because of increased demand and a reduced world supply of crude oil. Oil had been trading at below $100 a barrel but yesterday spiked up to $106. That is leading to higher fuel prices around the world. But what about the Strategic Petroleum Reserves that President Biden opened up in March?

It turns out those did have an effect on prices, holding gas below $4 per gallon for weeks. GasBuddy notes that if the reserves were not opened, gas prices would be some 20 cents higher per gallon than they are now. Another reason for the higher demand is that many workers headed back to the office this spring for the first time in 2 years, leading to a greater demand for fuel. With the summer driving season and vacations on the horizon, GasBuddy says you can expect prices to climb even higher.

And not to pile on, but NPR reports that the European Union is proposing a ban on Russian crude oil as part of sanctions on the country for invading Ukraine. Crude prices jumped 4% just on that news alone. Imagine what an all-out European ban will do to energy prices. Unfortunately, there are no simple answers to lowering energy costs. Right now, shorter drives are all we can do.

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