TAMPA, FL – Gasoline prices in the southeast were on a streak of declines before the conflict in Iraq began. The average price for a gallon of gasoline fell 51 days straight in Florida, 44 days in Georgia, and 12 days in Tennessee. However, the streaks ended Saturday as the violence in Iraq caused oil prices to jump.
“Motorists should be ready for gas prices to increase around 5-10 cents,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “The price hike could continue depending on the duration of this conflict.”
Crude oil prices had its biggest weekly gain of this year because of the violence in Iraq. The cost for a barrel of oil closed last Friday at $106.91 on the NYMEX — $4.25 more than the week prior ($102.66).
Iraq is the second largest crude producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The market is concerned that violence will spread to the main oil-producing areas in southern Iraq and threaten supplies. In addition, continued conflict could delay the re-opening of a key pipeline in the region that has been closed since March. Saudi Arabia, the top OPEC producer, could be urged to increase supplies to offset potential shortages and meet growing global demand.