RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Higher gas prices at the pumps could continue to rise due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Overnight as Russia invaded, crude oil jumped to about $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014.

Economics professor Patrick Conway at UNC-Chapel Hill said prices at the pumps shouldn’t move too much from where they are right now, but long-term the perspective is worse.

“We can anticipate prices for gasoline will go up as long as prices for crude oil go up,” said Conway.

According to AAA, the average price for gas nationwide is around $3.53.

In North Carolina, drivers are paying about $3.47 for a gallon of gas.

Conway said now is the time for people in North Carolina to start thinking about a new budget if prices continue to go up.

“It’s always concerning to see the price of gasoline to rise, and given the way the energy markets are responding, the people are buying and selling energy right now,” Conway said. “They are responding to the invasion and indicate we should anticipate that there will be higher prices in the future.”

He stressed that there is no need for drivers to go panic buy gasoline because there’s no reason for local gas stations to run out of gas at this point.

“I think much of the response in the oil markets these days is a fear of what might come. If the Russians can be deterred through sanctions that the Biden Administration has proposed, then this could be an uplift in prices that may not be passed onto the pumps,” said Conway.

But he said if the invasion continues, and the Russians linger in Ukraine, then drivers will likely see higher prices at the pump. Conway also said certain sanctions could also lead to higher gas prices.