March 9, 2012
By Vicki Vaughn
If you're planning a trip soon, it's going to cost you more — perhaps a lot more — than it did last year.
Gasoline prices are higher at this point in February than they've ever been at this time of year, and analysts say there's no relief in sight.
In San Antonio, a gallon of regular unleaded averaged $3.55 on Tuesday, up 9 cents in a week and 29 cents in a month. A year ago, a gallon of regular unleaded cost an average $3.21 a gallon in the city.
Gasoline prices are rising as the cost of crude oil has jumped, as crude represents 76 percent of the price motorists pay at the pump.
The price of crude oil has traded above $100 a barrel since Feb. 10, as tension has mounted between the West and Iran over its nuclear ambitions.
Jitters over Iran are “the No. 1 reason” that gasoline prices have climbed steeply in recent weeks, said Brian Milne, refined fuels editor at Telvent DTN,a business information company that specializes in energy.
Milne expects gasoline prices in Texas to rise to about $4 a gallon in the coming weeks if tensions over Iran don't ease.
Added to the Iran jitters are last year's closures of two refineries in the Northeast and the shutdown of a refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands that had supplied fuel to the United States.
“I don't see prices falling even though demand has been falling in the United States,” said Bernard Weinstein, associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University. “That's because the price of oil is more or less determined globally.”
The soaring price of gasoline has rattled some and prompted others to make changes....
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