It has happened. Russia's war on Ukraine has pushed gas prices north of $5 for much of the Bay Area and California. And for people who are suddenly commuting back to work... maybe this will bolster BART ridership?

Average gas prices around the Bay Area and the state hit $5 per gallon for the first time ever, according to the latest AAA gasoline price survey that was posted Friday morning. ABC 7 reported Thursday night on Bay Area commuters seeking out the cheapest gas, which now basically means anything a few cents below $5/gallon — and one guy they found who commutes between Sacramento and the East Bay says he's spending $1,800 a month on gas these days. So that might make some people rethink their commutes!

Inflation and other factors have been driving up the price of gas for months now, but now the war in Ukraine is pushing the price at the pump even higher.

The national average price for a gallon of gas is $3.84, but California tops the list for the country's most expensive gas, with regular now priced at an average of $5.07/gallon around the state, and premium gas at $5.34/gallon. Across the West Coast, gas is now well above $4/gallon.

ABC 7 explains that while California has long had the nation's most expensive gas prices, in part due to state taxes and regulatory fees, changes at California refineries in recent years have sent prices soaring even prior to the Ukraine crisis, which is impacting global fuel prices.

On the plus side, gas prices combined with increasingly shitty traffic on Bay Area bridges could mean a swifter recovery for ridership on public transit. BART is facing major budget woes in the coming years if ridership doesn't bounce back to pre-pandemic levels, and the gas price hike comes just as many Bay Area companies are announcing back-to-the-office deadlines for workers who have been working remotely for the past two years.

Google/Alphabet announced Wednesday that it wants its workers back in its Silicon Valley offices by April 4. Apple just announced that its workers will begin transitioning back to the office one day per week on April 11, and three days per week by May 23.

Photo: Eric Mclean