RALEIGH, N.C. — A lot of people are wondering when we’ll get back to pre-pandemic gas prices and significantly lower oil prices.

Some experts fear it will be years before oil prices become lower.

Duke economics professor Connel Fullenkamp says it’s because of the industry’s volatility.

“What we’ve seen because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the disruptions in the oil market is that a small interruption in oil supply has really hit oil prices in a big way, and I don’t see those factors really changing,” said Connel Fullenkamp, a Duke economics professor.

So if the oil prices are all over the place, why are we seeing lower gas prices right now?

Fullenkamp says it’s partially because we’ve changed some of our habits because of the high prices.

“A lot of things are just as simple as saying ‘well, instead of taking four different trips to run errands, I’m going to figure out how I can do them all in the same trip,” Fullenkamp said.

Numbers from the federal government show gas prices averaged just under $2.50 a gallon in February 2020 before the pandemic began. Experts say we’ll need to see a big increase in global oil production to see those kinds of prices again.

Fullenkamp says don’t expect to see that for at least another year because OPEC members are happy with high oil prices and are not in a hurry to increase production and send prices back down.