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Possible Russian Oil Embargo Pushes Gas Prices to Historic Levels

Gas Prices

In the Lehigh Valley and elsewhere, motorists are getting sticker shock just thinking about filling up their tanks, as the price of gasoline soars to record or near-record levels due to the war in Ukraine and the possibility of a U.S. ban on Russian oil imports.

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Gas Prices

Regular unleaded gas at the Exxon on Rt. 378 near Black River Road in Lower Saucon Township had soared to the never-before-seen local price of $4.59 a gallon as of Monday afternoon. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the growing possibility of a U.S. ban on Russian liquid fuel imports are pushing gas prices that are already at or near record levels even higher.

In the Lehigh Valley and elsewhere, motorists are getting sticker shock just thinking about filling up their tanks, as the price of gasoline soars to record or near-record levels due to an ongoing war in Ukraine and the possibility of a U.S. ban on Russian oil imports.

On Monday, the American Automobile Association (AAA) reported that the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton area was $4.27, shattering the previous all-time high price of $4.07 a gallon set in the summer of 2008.

Across Pennsylvania the average price reached $4.23 a gallon, which was also a new record and enough to place the state among the top 10 most expensive states to buy gas currently. The national average price of regular unleaded was $4.06 a gallon Monday, or about five cents shy of the all-time national high price of $4.11/gal. set on July 17, 2008.

In Pennsylvania–where the price of diesel is also currently at a record level–a gallon of gas costs 41 percent more than it did a year ago, when the average price was just $2.99.

Perhaps just as shocking as the prices themselves is the rapidity with which prices have risen, which analysts attribute in part to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine late last month.

Just a week ago, shortly after the invasion, the average price of gas in the Lehigh Valley was approximately 50 cents less ($3.76 a gallon on Feb. 28) than it was on Monday.

Gas Prices

U.S. Gas in Coopersburg had one of the better deals on gas Monday, although there were still stations selling it for as “little” as $3.99 a gallon elsewhere in the Lehigh Valley, according to the “Pump Picks” page on the Channel 69 News website.

Tuesday will likely bring another new record–and more “pump pain” for motorists–as gas north of $4.50 a gallon had already begun to appear around the area.

In the Saucon Valley, the Exxon and Speedway gas stations on Rt. 378 in Lower Saucon Township had increased the price of gallon of unleaded to $4.59 by Monday afternoon, making them among the more expensive places to fill up. A bit further south in Center Valley and Coopersburg there was cheaper gas to be had at places like the Turkey Hill on Rt. 309, where regular unleaded was still available for $4.29 a gallon as of this writing.

However, most forecasts for fuel prices call for them to increase in the coming days, with gas for $5 a gallon not out of the question in parts of the country where high taxes are a factor in gasoline’s overall costliness. Pennsylvania is one state where that is possible.

In major cities along the West Coast, the average price has already topped $5 a gallon.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported Monday that Congressional leaders and members of the Biden administration are in talks about the possiblility of placing an embargo on Russian liquid fuel imports, which according to the Energy Information Administration account for approximately 8 percent of the U.S.’s total imports. The ban would be in retaliation for Vladimir Putin’s ongoing war against Ukraine, although it could also prove problematic for parts of the American economy that rely heavily on lower fuel costs.

“Americans are by far the world’s heaviest consumers of gasoline, thanks to big cars, long driving distances and little public transportation in many areas,” the Reuters story noted. “Rising gas prices have traditionally been political poison for U.S. leaders.”

AAA reported that while a number of countries–including the U.S.–have agreed in recent days to release some of their strategic oil reserves to stem the spike in gas prices, the impact may be limited “given that the amount of oil planned for release is small in comparison to the amount that flows daily from Russia to other countries around the globe.”

In the U.S., the pain being felt in the form of higher gas prices is being compounded by the fact that the national inflation rate is currently at a 40-year high.


Some of the gas prices* in the area as of Monday, March 7, 2022 were as follows:

Speedway, Rt. 378 and Black River Road, Bethlehem: $4.59/gal.
Exxon, 3655 Rt. 378, Bethlehem: $4.59/gal.
Sunoco, Rt. 378 and Rt. 309, Center Valley: $4.46/gal.
Wawa, Rt. 309 and Passer Road, Coopersburg: $4.45/gal.
Giant, Rt. 309 and E. Fairmount St., Coopersburg: $4.45/gal.
US Gas, Rt. 309 and E. Fairmount St., Coopersburg: $4.29/gal. (cash), $4.39/gal. (debit)
Turkey Hill, Rt. 309 and E. Station Ave., Coopersburg: $4.29/gal.
Sunoco, 701 Main St., Hellertown: $4.37/gal.

*Prices quoted above are for regular unleaded gasoline. Prices are subject to change.

As of around 6 p.m., the popular gas price tracking website was down due to what the company reported on Twitter as “record-breaking traffic to the app and website.”

For more local gas prices, visit Channel 69 New’s “Pump Picks” page.

The Sunoco at 701 Main Street in Hellertown was selling regular unleaded gas for $4.37 a gallon Monday. Gas costing more than $4 a gallon is not something most Lehigh Valley area residents are used to, and many are anxious about the impact higher gas prices will have on their families’ budgets. Although it has approached the $4/gal. mark previously–briefly surpassing it in the summer of 2008–the price of gas has never been higher locally than it is now.



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About the author

Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is the owner, publisher and editor of Saucon Source. A Lehigh Valley native, he's covered local news since 2005 and previously worked for Berks-Mont News and AOL/Patch. Contact him at

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