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Pain at the Pump

SKY HIGH Gas prices top $6 a gallon in Los Angeles, California, on March 13. JASON ARMOND—­LOS ANGELES TIMES/GETTY IMAGES

Gas prices continue to rise. On March 13, the average cost of a gallon of regular gas in the United States was $4.43. That’s $1.54 higher than it was a year ago.

“It’s very expensive, high for people who are earning the minimum,” Julian Mesa says. He recently paid $5.79 a gallon in California.

Prices at the pump have been going up for months. With pandemic restrictions lifting, more people are on the road. This has increased demand for oil, which is used to make gasoline.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made things worse. In order to punish Russia, many countries have imposed sanctions there, making it harder for Russia to sell its oil. Some countries, including the U.S., have stopped buying Russian oil. These measures will make the global shortage worse, driving prices up.

Many families in the U.S. are already on a tight budget, as prices on food and other goods have soared during the pandemic. Now, by one estimate, U.S. families could pay $2,000 more for gas this year. “A lot of people have little choice,” economist Paul Ashworth told the New York Times. “They have to drive.”

Stop & Think! HOW are prices in the United States affected by world events? Which details in the article help you understand that connection?