Rising Middle East tensions are boosting crude oil prices again, but are unlikely to impact U.S. gasoline prices for now, experts say.
As Israel massed tanks and troops along the Gaza Strip and Palestinian militants launched hundreds of missile strikes deep into the country, crude oil futures spiked 1.3% to nearly $87 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday. Behind the third straight price jump: fears that a broadening of the conflict could cause supply disruptions from oil-producing countries in the region, which supply about 20% of the world’s oil.
Last winter, crude oil spiked to about $100 a barrel when Iran threatened to cut off supplies. “The elephant does seem to be back in the room,” says Patrick DeHaan, senior analyst for price tracker gasbuddy.com.
Offsetting a potential jump in gas prices: lower demand and ample supplies, fueled in part by rising U.S. production U.S. crude oil inventories are up about 11%