Unrest in Iraq and at the pump

KIMT News 3 – The civil unrest in Iraq is causing a different kind of unrest here in the U.S. That discomfort can be found at the pump.

“The national average is now at least $3.68 a gallon, a week ago it was $3.65,” says Petroleum Specialist Gregg Laskoski with Gas Buddy.

He says this is partially due to the crisis happening overseas.

“The reason why the financial markets are taking notice, and why global crude oil prices have responded to that is because Iraq is the second largest exporter of fuel behind Saudi Arabia among all of the OPEC nations,” says Laskoski.

There’s a fear of the insurgents taking over some major refineries, like one in Baghdad.

“There’s a refinery there that is a very significant one that provides about 75% of what is used domestically, so there’s a lot at stake here. You have four oil pipelines and eight refineries that are critical to the infrastructure and that is jeopardized then obviously the supply has to be made up somewhere,” says Laskoski.

Consumers, like Damian Sauers, don’t want to see this happen.

“I usually go through about $40-$45 a week,” says Sauers.

Which is already hard to afford for many.

“A lot of the jobs out here, you only make like $8-$10 an hour and if you’re spending $40-$45 a week you know that takes you half a day to fill a tank and that’s kind of ridiculous,” says Sauers.

The outlook for the summer depends more on just what happens overseas. It’s also dependent on what Mother Nature decides to bring us.

“Hurricanes almost always reduce consumer demand because no one wants to be out driving in nasty weather and sometimes they do damage to the available fuel supply,” says Laskoski.

During Hurricane Sandy, pipelines had trouble delivering fuel and retailers couldn’t even pump what was in their tanks.

“If we have a quiet year this year, just like we did last year, then will all be fortunate,” says Laskoski.

You can expect to spend even more around the fourth of July. That happens most years, although, those at Gas Buddy say, they expected things to stay steady this year before the crisis in Iraq.

We are told there is also some good news to combat this crisis. The United States is at its peak when it comes to domestic fuel production. Also, if the unrest continues and prices spike, there is a backup plan which includes tapping into a strategic petroleum reserve near Texas.

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