Will Gas Prices Spike This Summer?

While gas prices have remained steady for the past month, the recent militant assault on the largest oil refinery in Iraq will most likely spell greater increases in American gas prices.

Spokesperson for AAA Carolinas, Tom Crosby, says that this conflict in the Middle East will take its economic toll on how much we are paying for gas, just not immediately.

“There is no doubt that the problems in Iraq are going to affect gas prices domestically eventually,” says Crosby. “It probably won’t go up overnight, but that pipeline will suddenly start drying up if they cut off the oil supplies, and as a result all oil prices will rise because of the decreased supply.”

When compared to gas prices at this time last year, Crosby says prices will go up, but we cannot know for certain exactly how much just yet.

“Right now, we’re paying a higher price than we did last summer by about 10 to 12 cents a gallon,” says Crosby, “so we can be looking at paying 15 to 20 cents a gallon more than we did last year, but we have to wait and see just how those actions affect the supply of oil.”

Crosby also says that, despite the greater likelihood of rising gas prices, it is not going to stop Americans from travelling this summer.

“We’re having an economic boom. I think people are still going to drive and travel. I don’t think 10 to 20 cents a gallon more is going to cause people to cancel their trip,” says Crosby. “It may curtail some of their discretionary driving, or maybe the distance their going to travel, but I don’t think it is going to have a major impact, unless the prices were to approach somewhere in the $4 a gallon range, and that is not on the horizon at this time.”


NC Lawmakers Hone Rules For Gas, Oil Drilling

RALEIGH – North Carolina lawmakers are honing rules that would govern underground natural gas drilling and encourage offshore oil drilling.

The Senate gave final approval Tuesday to legislation intended to spur the state’s energy. It now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory.

The measure removes an earlier idea to begin issuing permits in March 2015 for underground gas drilling using a method called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The existing law directs state agencies to craft rules for oil and gas exploration by October 2014 and requires the legislature to act before issuing any permits.

The legislation also directs McCrory to negotiate an offshore energy alliance with the governors of South Carolina and Virginia.

Republican Rep. Mike Stone of Sanford says lawmakers want to tell the energy industry that North Carolina welcomes drilling.


AAA Report: No More Gas Below $3

Image courtesy of Clotee Pridgen Allochuku

CHARLOTTE – You may never see gas prices go below $3, according to a new report by the American Automobile Association.

Director of communications for AAA Carolinas, Angela Daley, says that, with a few exceptions like South Carolina, this looks like the future of gas prices in America.

“I think it’s reasonable for some parts of the country to drop below $3 a gallon, but for the most part, what we’re seeing is that range between $3 and $4 a gallon, with $3.50 being about normal,” Daley says.

Oil prices are only expected to go up, as Daley says prices typically rise in the second half of the summer.

“It’s due to demand, but it’s also due to the fact that unrest in Egypt is causing concerns over the distribution of oil through the Suez Canal,” Daley says.

Daley says that conflict in other countries affects our oil prices because the oil market is global and interconnected.

“I think the more that we can produce domestically, we’ll be able to keep the volatility from being as dramatic as we have seen over the past few years,” Daley says. “But it’s really all about supply and demand and remembering that we’re working in a global market, so as much as we’re producing here, much of that oil is still being exported elsewhere.”

Daley says rising gas prices are also a result of both oil production and oil demand from growing economies.

“For the most part, we’re seeing that countries, like China, India, Brazil, are all increasing their demand,” Daley says. “So as we increase our supply here and globally, the demand is also going up.”

Daley says oil prices in North Carolina especially are expected to rise throughout the summer, as the Carolinas get 90 percent of their oil from the Gulf and hurricane season is just getting started.