Iran tensions result in higher prices at the pump | News
Tampa, FL -- Motorists will start the New Year paying a national average of $3.27 a gallon for gasoline—nearly 20 cents more than they did on Jan.1, 2011, according to AAA Club South.
AAA reported retail gas prices increased throughout last week as tensions with Iran escalated and the country threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major shipping channel for approximately one-fifth of the world's oil supply. The United States and Europe continue to discuss stricter sanctions on Iran to thwart their nuclear program.
At the same time, the U.S. economy continues to show signs of improvement and the positive outlook will likely be a factor to cause oil and gas prices to increase during the week. Oil stockpiles in the U.S. dropped to nearly 323 million barrels in mid-December, the lowest level since Dec. of 2008, according to reports from the Energy Department. The price of a barrel of oil closed Friday at $98.83 on the New York Mercantile Exchange—85 cents less than the week prior.
"We're likely to begin the New Year with a rally of optimism in the oil market as the U.S. economy is forecast to continue to improve, coupled with concerns over Iranian tension and the possibility of a disruption in the country's oil exports," Jessica Brady, AAA spokesperson, The Auto Club Group said in a release. "This means motorists could see pump prices increase throughout the first half of January. If gas prices continue to jump an average of 5 cents a week, the national average could reach $3.40 a gallon by the third week of January."
Average retail gasoline prices in Tampa rose 8.8 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.27/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 2.4 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.25/g, according to gasoline price website TampaGasPrices.com.
Including the change in gas prices in Tampa during the past week, prices yesterday were 24.1 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 6.5 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has decreased 4.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 20.9 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.