Gas prices in the U.S. have gone down significantly since the national average hit a high of just over $5 per gallon in June, but Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warns that prices could shoot back up this winter.

Appearing on CNN on Sunday, Yellen was asked whether Americans can expect to see an increase in the coming months.

"Well, it’s a risk, and it’s a risk that we’re working on the price cap to try to address," Yellen said, referencing an effort by G7 countries to place a price cap on Russian oil.

The secretary explained that with the European Union severely cutting back on Russian oil purchases to the point that they "will mostly stop buying" from Moscow, plus a ban on providing services that allow Russia to ship oil via tanker, "It is possible that that could cause a spike in oil prices."

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Yellen explained that this is part of why G7 nations are proposing a pre-cap on Russian oil. Not only is the cap meant to decrease Russian revenue as Vladimir Putin continues his war in Ukraine, Yellen said, it is also aimed at "maintaining Russian oil supplies that will help to hold down global oil prices."

Janet Yellen

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on May 10 in Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Tom Williams/Pool via AP / Associated Press)

The national average gas price was at a high of approximately $5.02 on June 14, according to AAA, and it is currently down to about $3.72 per gallon.

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President Biden has largely blamed the price jump on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24. On that date, the national average was $3.54 per gallon. One year ago, in September 2021, it was just about $3.18. 

On Jan. 20, 2021, when Biden took office, the national average price per gallon was approximately $2.39.

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