RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — If you’ve been to the gas pump lately, it’s no secret that prices are climbing. Experts now warn that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could drive these prices even higher.

During an extended diplomatic meeting, Vice President Kamala Harris acknowledged the potential for increased energy costs. President Biden also warned drivers of the hike, promising to use resources to soften the punch.

“I will not pretend this will be painless,” he said during a press conference. “We’re preparing to deploy all the tools and authority at our disposal to provide relief at the gas pump.”

Average gas prices per gallon in the Richmond region have increased almost a dollar in a year, with prices currently at $3.38 compared to $2.56 last year.

That’s also up a penny since last week, and 25 cents since January ($3.13).

Dr. Thomas Porter, a Russian history professor at North Carolina A&T State University, told WGHP that Russian- Ukrain tensions could have U.S. drivers digging deeper in their pockets.

“Russia is just a gas station with nuclear weapons,” he said. “If they don’t export it then the rest of the world is going to feel that somewhere, and that would be here at home.” 

Porter told FOX8 the gas prices you pay at the fuel pump or heat your home could double if Russian troops invade. 

“I wouldn’t be surprised if gasoline was about seven dollars a gallon within a couple months of Putin invading Ukraine if in fact he does,” he said.

So, how long could this last?

Analysts with GasBuddy say the coming weeks could get “ugly” with demand on an upswing ahead of spring travel and a Russian incursion.

Petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan said it’s really just a waiting game.

“I see no other potentials in the short term but additional price increases unless Russia does an about-face on Ukraine. Even then, we’ll still see seasonality push prices up, so motorists should be ready to dig deeper.”