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Arkansas seeing highest gas prices in 6 years

Experts said there are a couple of different factors causing the spike at the pump, from higher demand to current geopolitical tensions.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — We've all felt it in our bank accounts and noticed it at the pump, gas is getting more expensive!

In fact, according to AAA, the U.S. hasn't seen prices this high since 2014.

Experts said there are a couple of different factors causing this spike at the pump. 

First, the high demand for gas right now, as more people are out and about. 

Second, the current geopolitical tensions are also helping the prices reach new heights, according to UCA Assistant Economics Professor, Jeremy Horpedahl. 

RELATED: Spike in natural gas bills larger than expected, Arkansans say

"The swings we've seen during the last two years, during the pandemic, have been much more volatile than we usually see going up and down," he said.

It's been historic highs and historic lows for gas prices across the country since COVID began. 

Unfortunately for consumers, according to AAA Spokesperson Nick Chabarria, we're just now at the peak.

"These are the highest gasoline prices we've seen nationwide and in Arkansas since October of 2014," he said.

According to Chabarria, prices in Arkansas have jumped 22 cents in just the last month. 

That's more than the national average of 18 cents. 

Last year, Arkansans on average were paying $2.26 a gallon. Now, Chabarria said they're paying $3.16.

"That's quite a bit lower than the national average of $3.49. So again, still under national average, but of course, any increase is going to be felt," he said. 

Chabarria said that is the silver lining in all of this-- that Arkansas has the fourth cheapest statewide average in the country. But Horpedahl said that doesn't mean consumers won't feel it.

"Prices of most things are up, but for most things, like groceries, they're up about 7%. Right? Gas prices are up like 50% over the past year, and that really hits your budget. It's not something people were expecting," he said.

So why did they jump so high?

More demand and higher crude oil prices are contributing to it. 

For example, Chabarria said a gasoline barrel, right now, is just under $90 compared to $30 last February.

There's another major factor impacting it from overseas though, according to Horpedahl.

"There's a lot of kind of geopolitical unrest going on in Ukraine in Russia and that's a major oil and gas producing region in the world, and so that doesn't help either," he said.

Horpedahl said if that situation doesn't get resolved soon, consumers could be living with these prices for a while.

RELATED: US inflation jumped 7.5% in the past year, a 40-year high

A prediction of when we could see a drop is something, he said, is too hard to guess.

"There are reasons to be optimistic that we could see some relief soon, but it really depends on all those factors," Horpedahl said.

Chabarria said there are some tips that can help you save money!

First, make sure your car is up to date on things like oil changes and tire rotation. 

Also, if you're running errands, try to get everything in one trip rather than going back and forth.

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