Iran threats, employment numbers affect price at pump | News
Tampa, FL -- While retail gasoline prices already have consumers concerned about gas reaching $4 a gallon after the recent price jump last week, the new question is whether or not the national average will rise to $4.20 by spring or summer.
According to AAA Club South, while there’s the possibility pump prices could surpass $4 a gallon, it’s still too early to say exactly what the marquee will read four to six months down the road.
At this time, they report oil prices remain elevated as Iran still threatens to block the Strait of Hormuz and disrupt oil exports in the Middle East. Also, contributing to higher prices is the positive employment numbers recently released in the U.S.
Oil settled at $101.56 a barrel Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange--$2.73 more than the week prior.
However, there is still bearish news in the market with the potential to push oil and gas prices lower in the coming weeks. Speculation Europe will enter a recession that could stifle global oil demand is weighing heavier on the market and has reduced the value of the euro against the dollar, a factor that takes away the appeal of oil as a commodity. U.S. gasoline demand is also on the decline with inventories rising by 2.5 million barrels to 220.2 million the last week of December, according to the Department of Energy.
“Gas prices generally inch up after the first of the year on optimism the economy will continue to improve and set the stage for increased demand in the new year. The recent increase in U.S. payrolls by 200,000 in December supports this notion. Then, couple it with concerns Iran will disrupt Mideast oil exports and pump prices are sure to rise,” Jessica Brady, AAA spokesperson, The Auto Club Group, said in a release. “However, there is still plenty of bearish news out there, mainly Europe’s looming debt woes, with the potential to drive down oil and gas prices, especially if the Iranian threats were to cease.
Brady said motorists will probably see pump prices inch up again this week.
Average retail gasoline prices in Tampa rose 14.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.41/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 7.9 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.34/g, according to gasoline price website, TampaGasPrices.com.
Including the change in gas prices in Tampa during the past week, prices yesterday were 36.3 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 19.0 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 4.7 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 27.0 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.