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Gas prices continue climb amid Middle East turmoil

Posted February 25, 2011

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— The average price of gasoline in the Triangle jumped nearly 10 cents a gallon on Friday over the previous day as unrest in the Middle East pushed crude oil prices to hover around $100 per barrel.

The average price for a gallon of unleaded in the Triangle was $3.26 – less than what motorists are paying in Charlotte, $3.30, but more than those in Greensboro, $3.22.

Gary Harris, with the North Carolina Petroleum Marketers Association, says the reason is that drivers pay for today’s gas at prices based on what retailers expect their next shipments to cost.

“They’ve got to pay for the product that’s coming in, not the product that’s sitting in the ground,” Harris said.

Harris says oil companies profit as they process crude oil they bought in the past and sell it as gasoline at the higher, current price.

But most of the profits go to investors.

“The people who trade in crude and crude oil are the ones who make that money, because as crude goes up, they are trading on that value, and that’s where the money goes. It’s at the upper end of the scale,” Harris said.

Harris says he doesn’t anticipate that the gas prices will exceed $4 a gallon this year, but how high they will be will continue to depend on how unrest affects oil-rich Saudi Arabia, the largest oil-producing country in the Middle East.

If the turmoil spreads there, the sky’s the limit, he says.

That's Raleigh driver Joe Fasciano's fear.

“With the Middle East being what it is right now, who knows how far this will go,” he said. “How many more countries are going to be affected, and how much more oil is going to be affected?”


Top oil-producing countries (thousands of barrels per day)*

1. Russia: 9,934

2. Saudi Arabia: 9,760

3. United States: 9,141

4. Iran: 4,177

5. China: 3,996

6. Canada: 3,294

7. Mexico: 3,001

8. United Arab Emirates: 2,795

9. Brazil: 2,577

10. Kuwait: 2,496

Top oil exporters (thousands of barrels per day)

1. Saudi Arabia: 7,322

2. Russia: 7,194

3. Iran: 2,486

4. United Arab Emirates: 2,303

5. Norway: 2,132

6. Kuwait: 2,124

7. Nigeria: 1,939

8. Angola: 1,878

9. Algeria: 1,807

10. Iraq: 1,764

Top oil importers (thousands of barrels per day)

1. United States: 9,669

2. China: 4,328

3. Japan: 4,311

4. Germany: 2,307

5. India: 2,233

6. South Korea: 2,139

7. France: 1,749

8. United Kingdom: 1,588

9. Spain: 1,439

10. Italy: 1,381

 *Data is from 2009 courtesy U.S. Energy Information Administration

40 Comments

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  • blackdog Feb 25, 2011

    speculators and investors....

  • delilahk2000 Feb 25, 2011

    WITH THIS TURMOIL IT IS JUST AN EXCUSE TO PRICE GOUGH US TO DEATH, JUST SO THEY CAN HAVE RECORD PROFITS. LIES AND MORE LIES....

  • hunt36 Feb 25, 2011

    I KNOW HOW TO FIX THE MIDDLE EAST PROBLEM JUST GIVE THEM 24 HOURS TO LEAVE IF THEY WANT FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY AND MAKE THE REST A DUST BOWL

  • turtledove Feb 25, 2011

    The last time I checked gnewsome1 the President was a man not a boy. Your reference is insulting. No one is calling former presidents a boy. The present one shouldn't be either.

  • turtledove Feb 25, 2011

    What I don't understand is when prices went up before they said it was because demand was so high. Now there are millions of people out of work in the US, people are taking less vacations because they don't have jobs demand is low. Now they are blaming it on the crisis in the Middle East. Why don't they just tell the truth it is going up because of good ol fashion GREED!

  • ejmj992001 Feb 25, 2011

    There is no need to raise the price of gas like this. You think we are stupid. The cost of oil is not high. If you'll had done the smart thing when the oil was leaking into the ocean, for example have tankers filling up with it we could have used it to produce gas. You'll are crazy. We are in a recession and don't need to pay the high price of gas.

  • prn13norm Feb 25, 2011

    Has anyone heard "drill, baby , drill"?

  • jamesshivers Feb 25, 2011

    There is a man in Efland that has been testing a Hydrogen device that is getting over 35mpg increase in mileage. I met him once and was impressed with how easy it was to install and safer than those internet kits. He also is building a unit to supply electricity for his house and plans a electric car that uses only water no batteries.

  • lauraleigh Feb 25, 2011

    Gas is higher in Britain right now - they're paying per liter close to what we pay per gallon. HOWEVER - they did not tear out their mass transit/rail lines in the aftermath of WWII, so the British have options for commuting to work and to shop that we got rid of, a couple generations ago.

    I suspect we're up the proverbial creek in chickenwire canoe.

  • shakennotstirred Feb 25, 2011

    Political affiliations have little to do with the oil prices. Most people who post that drivel just love to whine. All the millionaires in office are scratching each others back. It's the way it's always been and most of us wouldn't do any different if we took their place...

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