Libya Unrest Could Push Gas to $5

BP, Statoil have pulled out of country
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2011 9:42 AM CST
In this Feb. 16, 2011 photo, Brian Sprague returns the nozzle to the pump after filling his car's tank with gas in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Newser) – Trips to the gas station could get a whole lot more painful soon, now that the unrest sweeping the Middle East has hit an oil-producing nation. Crude prices shot up 7% yesterday, and were still rising this morning, after BP and Norway’s Statoil evacuated workers from Libya, USA Today reports. “If this thing escalates, and there’s a good chance that there’d be a shift in supplies, $5 gas isn’t out of the question,” one senior energy analyst says.

Gas prices are already up 20% from last year’s levels, and within the next few days are expected to rise another 2.5% to $3.25. Analysts think old-fashioned consumption will drive it to between $3.75 and $4 by midsummer, even without additional political upheaval. “We have all the wrong things working together at the right time,” says another analyst. If unrest hits other oil-producing nations, “you’re easily talking $5 gas.”

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