Wondering why gas prices are higher this holiday week? Here’s what we learned

ROGERSVILLE, Ala. - If you're wondering why gas prices seem so much higher this year than last year at this time, it's not just in your mind. WHNT News 19 asked a petroleum analyst what's going on, and why we're paying more at the pump these days.

"Within the last couple weeks, oil prices have shot up nine dollars a barrel," said Allison Mac, GasBuddy petroleum analyst.

That's about a nickel a gallon.

"It's going up because of what's happening with Iran," Mac continued, noting the heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran.  The country is threatening to press on with nuclear energy plans in violation of the 2015 nuclear deal.

President Donald Trump has said that Iran is "playing with fire."

Drivers arriving in town ahead of the 4th of July weekend noticed the price increases pretty quickly.

Carl Exline, who lives in Cocoa Beach, Florida, is visiting Joe Wheeler State Park after a long drive. He paid attention to the price at the pump: "We gassed up around Jacksonville, and then went over the state line and all of a sudden, the gas dropped way low, so we filled up several times," he explained.

Kevin Mashburn from Lester said of the campground, "We just fell in love with it about 10 years ago and we've been coming back here ever since."

But what this tension with Iran means for gas prices the rest of the summer, Mac couldn't say. She said that remains unclear. Drivers in Alabama will have to shell out even more to fill up after Montgomery lawmakers recently approved a 10-cent gas tax increase to take effect incrementally starting in a few months.

Exline remarked, "It makes me want to go look at electrical trucks."

The price of gas this July is around 40 cents higher than what we were paying last year, when prices were around $1.99/gallon. Alabama is still well below the current national average gas price, at $2.74/gallon.

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