As New Jersey gas prices head towards record highs, Gov. Phil Murphy said that higher prices may have to be endured in order to defeat Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Prices went over the $4 a gallon mark to an average of $4.17 per gallon for regular on Monday, according to AAA's survey of prices. That's up 8 cents from Sunday and 52 cents from a month ago.

During an appearance on CNBC's "Squawk Box," Murphy laid the blame for the leap in gas prices squarely on Putin.

“At this point with Russia given what Putin is doing in Ukraine, we’re all going to have to swallow hard and take it. This is completely unlawful," Murphy said. "This guy is a complete and utter thug. He’s a war criminal and if it means we all have to take a little bit of pain to break this guy then that’s what it’s going to take because that’s what we need to do."

Lukoil station in Ewing
Lukoil station in Ewing (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ)
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Standing with Ukranians has a price

Murphy said that New Jersey has one of the largest populations of Ukranians in the U.S. and that New Jersey will "stand tall with them in any way we can."

When asked about the status of Lukoil stations franchised in New Jersey to local businesses but facing boycotts and suspension of their business licenses, Murphy did not have a full answer.

"We're trying to figure out what to do with them. They happen to be franchised by local New Jersey interests in most cases ... We're going to have to figure that one out," Murphy said.

The governor said that the budget he presents to the Legislature on Tuesday will include measures to help with steps to "ease the pain" of all prices that have jumped following the pandemic, including gas prices.

"Inflation is real. It's real. I don't think it's here forever like the early 80s but it's certainly here for 2022 and we're going to do everything we can to push back on it," Murphy said.

The governor admitted that there's nothing the state can do to control gas prices but he favored a federal gas tax holiday and a release from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

The Biden administration released 30 million barrels of oil from the reserve with another 30 million gallons coming from Asian and European reserves.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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Best coffee shops & cafes near NJ beaches

When it comes to food, New Jersey is known for many things such as pizza and pork roll. Don't count us out when it comes to coffee.

With all the hustle and bustle involved in the average New Jersey resident's day, coffee is essential. It doesn't matter whether you're living in the cities of North Jersey or the vacation spots at the shore.

In fact, as the former owner of two Jersey shore coffee houses, Coffee Dot Comedy in Sea Isle City and the Daily Grind in Ocean Grove, I know firsthand how much people at the Jersey shore love their coffee.

With respect to that, I asked my social media following where the best coffee houses at the Jersey Shore were, especially since my two places no longer exist.

Below is what they came up with. (And see this other article for their coffee shop and cafe recommendations for Central Jersey.)