CINCINNATI — Forget about wondering if gas prices would ever hit $5 a gallon.
It's now happening in the Cincinnati area, as it is in many places around the country.
Sky high prices are no longer limited to New York and California.
You'll pay $5.05 a gallon at many Speedway stations (the region's largest gasoline chain) across Southwest Ohio now, up from $4.79 a week ago, and $4.49 two weeks ago.
Other stations are as high as $5.10.
That is more than a 50 cent jump in the past two weeks.
What's coming next?
The question many drivers are asking now: Is this it, or are pump prices heading even higher?
Ashi Gulati was filling up at the Shell near the Rookwood shopping center, where regular was now $4.99, and Premium V-Power (required for many European cars) a whopping $5.79.
"Unfortunately, I did not think I would ever pay this much for gas," she said.
Things were much worse for independent handyman William Axel, who has to spend his own hard-earned cash to fill his work truck.
"As you can see, I got a truck," he said. "It cost me $100 today to fill up. By tomorrow it might be $130."
So what's coming next, and when will the price hikes end?
Analyst Patrick DeHaan of Gas Buddy.com said given tight supplies and high demand, he doesn't see prices dropping until labor day.
"I'm afraid that most of the summer we'll spend well over $4 a gallon there may be times when we're over $5. So buckle up. I think most of the summer will spend probably $4.50 to $5.50 gallon."
And that could be a conservative estimate.
What is causing this latest spike?
DeHaan said a hurricane that shuts down Gulf oil rigs or refineries could cause prices to spike another dollar a gallon, possibly to $6, because supplies are so tight right now.
In addition, China is finally coming back to life after long COVID shutdowns. That is boosting worldwide demand for oil and gas, at the same time the Ukraine war is hitting supplies.
Only a cease-fire in Ukraine will drop the price of crude oil substantially, according to analysts.
Last year, gas prices averaged $3.11 on the 4th of July weekend, which drivers felt was high at the time, after the $2 gas during the pandemic shutdown year.
$3.11 looks like a bargain now.
Click here for WCPO's interactive gas price map for the lowest local prices, and as always don't waste your money.
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