Pump Prices Rise Amid Mideast Turmoil

NEW YORK -- An overnight 6-cent increase in the price of gas is just the beginning of a likely continued rise in pump prices due to the unrest in the Mideast.

The national average price for a gallon of regular gas rose 5.9 cents to $3.287, according to AAA. The increase marks the third day in a row that prices have risen and brings the national average to its highest level since October 2008, according to CNN/Money. Prices actually increased nearly 12 cents this week alone and analysts expect prices to continue higher in the next few days after a sharp rise in the price of crude oil, according to the report.

"This will definitely be the most expensive February ever," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service.

As of Friday morning, oil prices were about $98 per barrel, a day after hitting a high of $103 per barrel.

The spike in crude could translate to an increase in gas prices of 37 cents per gallon in the coming weeks, according Moody's Analytics economist Chris Lafakis. He estimates that for every $1 increase in the price of oil, retail gas prices typically rise 2.5 cents a gallon, according to CNN/Money. Oil prices have been driven higher by political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, including the latest unrest in Libya. Despite the surge in prices this week, the amount of oil that has been taken off the world market has been relatively minimal, though, according to reports. Libya supplies only a small fraction of oil to the United States -- about 50,000 barrels a day -- "we can survive Libyan export loss," Kloza said. Kloza predicted earlier this week that the nationwide average for regular unleaded will wind up between $3.50 and $3.75 a gallon.


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