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Cincy gas prices jumping to $3.79: will strategic reserves help?

Prices spike again as crude oil hits $110 a barrel
Gas prices
Posted at 11:51 AM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 11:51:32-05

CINCINNATI — When it comes to gas prices, this unusual week turned even more unusual on Thursday, when many Cincinnati-area gas stations raised prices for the second time in just a few days.

Many stations that spiked to $3.59 a gallon on Tuesday jumped again to $3.69 or $3.79.

AAA has just announced that the average Ohio price is now $3.62, though that is lower than the national average of $3.78.

You can see the cheapest current prices on the WCPO Gas Price Map (zoom in on your area).

It is all due to the soaring price of crude oil, which hit $110 a barrel this week, based on Russia fears and the war in Ukraine.

So with oil prices now double where they were a year ago, the US Energy Department has announced that it is releasing another 30 millions of barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves.

But will it really have any impact?

What could happen next

There's a growing worry that $3.79 a gallon may not be the end, and that gas prices could rise well past $4 on average in the coming weeks.

The idea behind a release from the reserves is to slow any upcoming price hikes.

But a PBS analysis says the impact will be small, and brief, based on history.

Back in November, the government released 50 million barrels from the reserves, when prices were just at $3.19.

PBS says it stopped the rise temporarily, but had only a "fleeting impact" for a couple of weeks.

This time, it's a smaller amount, and represents just one day's worth of US gasoline use.

So while the release may lessen the spike in gas prices the coming days, no one expects it to be a long term solution.

As always, don't waste your money.
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8:47 PM, Oct 17, 2018

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