Analysts Warn Of Spring Surge In Gas Prices

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Here we go again. Gas prices are surging throughout north Alabama, and analysts say the ride up may not stop until the dreaded four dollar per gallon mark is reached.

AAA of Alabama and several other fuel trackers are warning that four buck prices could be reality in Alabama as soon as May. According to AAA, prices in metro Huntsville have risen by nearly twenty cents in the last month, and seven cents alone in just the last week.

The most recent price spike appears to defy conventional logic compared to other recent surges. The price of crude oil per barrel is still under $100, with surveys also showing consumer demand for fuel near record lows. Oil prices and customer demand were much higher in the summer of 2008, when gas prices skyrocketed above $4.00 per gallon. But analysts have said the prospect of a Middle East war between Israel and Iran is enough to throw everything else out of wack, with investors fearing that such a conflict would disrupt worldwide oil supplies. Fuel tracking experts also said it’s possible some oil companies could be testing how much more of a profit they can squeeze out of motorists who are already being pinched.

“We just do not have the money to be paying these kind of prices,” said Huntsville driver Shellie Christopher. “They are definitely going up quickly. As a single mother, that’s food out of my baby’s mouth.”

“It’s certainly going to be a challenge for a lot of people,” said Madison driver Mike Worley. “Everyone hears the horror stories about what is going on in the Middle East and the speculation. Everyone automatically thinks that it’s going to get bad. I think some of that price is built into the speculation.”

The average cost for one gallon of regular unleaded in metro Huntsville was $3.46 as of Sunday afternoon. That figure was the highest metro average in the state of Alabama. AAA said competitive shopping and pricing by drivers remains the best hope to keep fuel prices in check.