Lake Charles residents fill up their vehicles at Jimbo's on South Common. Gas prices have gone up lately because of geopolitical unrest in the Middle East, an AAA official said Tuesday. (Michelle Higginbotham / Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, July 26, 2012 10:14 AMGas prices have gone up lately because of geopolitical unrest in the Middle East, an AAA official said Tuesday.
“Iran is front and center, and now Syria and the threat of them using chemical weapons,” said Don Redman, AAA public affairs specialist. “The threat of some banks in Spain needing a bailout has the market losing confidence as well. China is also forecasting a weaker output.”
With no sudden outbreak of peace in the Middle East foreseen in the near future, Redman expects gas prices to be high for the rest of the summer.
The national average for gasoline is $3.48 a gallon — up 6 cents from a month ago but down 22 cents from this time last year, according to AAA. The average price in Louisiana is $3.30 — up 12 cents from a month ago but down 32 cents from this time last year.
The price of crude oil is $88 a barrel, up about $5 from a month ago. Redman said that if the price of crude were strictly based on economics, it would be $65 a barrel.
“When you take out the fear of the unknown and you just look at the fundamentals of the economy, I wouldn’t think gas would stay this high,” Redman said. “But the market is very much based on the news of the day.”
He said market factors besides political unrest include investor confidence, supply and demand, and weather.
In June, Redman said gas prices were going down in the nation because the euro weakened, strengthening the U.S. dollar.
“The whole global economy is slowing down,” Redman said. “The European financial situation is yet to be resolved. It does strengthen the dollar.”
According to Louisianagasprices.com, the cheapest gas in Lake Charles is Murphy USA at $3.18 a gallon. In Sulphur, the cheapest gas is $3.15 a gallon at Chevron. In Westlake, gas costs $3.19 a gallon at Circle K. In Moss Bluff, the cheapest gas is $3.29 a gallon at Conoco.
Redman said there are many factors that go into the varying prices around the Lake Area. He said some service stations have a day-to-day gas contract with oil companies and that some are long term — but contracts expire at different times.
“There is also a differing in value of property taxes, with some carrying higher property taxes,” he said. “A particular station may have a higher overhead. Employee expenses — whether or not they are branded or independent — these are all factors.”
According to AAA, the states paying the most for gas are Hawaii, $4.16; Alaska, $4; California, $3.79; New York, $3.77; and Washington, $3.67.
Posted By: Terrel On: 7/25/2012
Title: Say What
I'm not quite certain where the prices in this article have been verified, however the price of gas at the Chevron in Sulphur has been over $3.35 a gallon for more than a week.