Gas prices set to rise amid Syria conflict

National average gas price is highest in 2 years

By Ashley Harding - Reporter

TAMPA, Fla. - Pump prices will get more expensive this week due to rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. The conflict in Syria sent crude prices to their highest point in more than three years, and as a result, motorists are about to feel the pain at the pump.

The national average price for gasoline is the highest in more than two years. Sunday's average of $2.71 is the highest since July 2015. Florida gas prices are the most expensive since February.

Sunday's state average of $2.63 is 2 cents more than last week, and 20 cents more than last year. 

  • The most expensive gas price averages in Florida are in Crestview-Fort Walton Beach ($2.80), Pensacola ($2.77), and West Palm Beach-Boca Raton ($2.76).
  • The least expensive gas price averages in Florida are in Tampa Bay ($2.54), Orlando ($2.54), and Melbourne-Titusville ($2.56)

"Motorists should expect a 15-cent increase at the pump in the short term," Mark Jenkins, spokesman of The Auto Club Group (AAA), said. "However, prices could rise even more, depending on how the crude market responds to the latest news of a U.S. missile strike over the weekend."

Crude prices rose more than $5 last week, which was the largest weekly increase in more than eight months. Crude is climbing due to the potential of U.S. sanctions against Syria's sponsors: Russia and Iran. Syria has not exported oil since civil war broke out in 2011. However, the country receives fuel deliveries from Iran. 

Crude oil closed at $67.39 per barrel on Friday, the highest daily settlement since December 2014. Wholesale gasoline prices responded in kind, rising nearly 15 cents. 

Fuel prices are once again vulnerable to conflict in the middle east, because global supplies are tightening. The OPEC and non-OPEC production cut agreement is eliminating the global oil supply glut that led to lower prices in recent years. OPEC expects the oil market to rebalance in Q2 or Q3 of this year.

2018 highs and lows

  • National: the highest average price for gasoline was $2.70 on April 13; the lowest was $2.49 on January 3.
  • Florida: the highest average price was $2.68 on February 8; the lowest was $2.44 on January 2.
  • Georgia: the highest average price was $2.61 on April 13; the lowest was $2.35 on January 2.
  • Tennessee: the highest average price was $2.50 on April 13; the lowest was $2.26 on January 1.

For a state-by-state breakdown of current gas price averages, click here.

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