(WGHP) — Gas prices across the United States are likely to rise to $4 a gallon, according to an expert with GasBuddy.

Patrick De Haan, an energy analysis expert, says there is a 98% chance prices hit $4 a gallon, and a 50% chance prices hit $4.50 a gallon.

The crisis in Ukraine is one factor driving NC gas prices to the highest levels since 2014.

People pulling up to the pumps at Circle K on Pinecroft Road in Greensboro paid $3.59 a gallon on Friday, which is just a few cents higher than the national average and about eight cents more than what the average price is here in North Carolina.

“It was quite a bit of a shock,” said Chuck Witaker, who paid $70 to fill up his Ford Explorer Friday morning. 

“Generally, it only takes about $45- $50 at best,” he said.

The reason you’re paying more is not solely connected to the crisis in Ukraine. This is the time of year stations switch to a cleaner-burning fuel ahead of summer.

“Keep in mind the pandemic is still the reason why we are paying more than we were a year ago,” De Haan said

He says while people are worried about the price, there is no reason to panic about the supply.

“Everyone has been through the Colonial Pipeline issue, and humans made it far worse…we got through the Colonial issue, and that was an actual physical disruption. The pipeline stopped flowing. There is no disruption yet. There is nothing to worry about,” he said.

Gas prices go up and down based on what station owners have to pay to fill their tanks.

“Would I call yesterday price gouging if a station went up 10-20 cents? No. Would I call it that if they went up 50 cents? Sure,” he said.

We asked De Haan about a Shell station on Gate City Boulevard charging $4.09 a gallon.

“That station is…30 cents higher,” he said.

“There is no set point at which a price becomes price gouging. A number of factors are considered, including profit margins, comparisons to other sellers/businesses…supply, fluctuation in markets, etc.,” said a spokesperson with the North Carolina attorney general.

If you want to file a complaint, call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or click here.

De Haan says these days you could see prices at your local gas station changing more than once a day.