Middle East turmoil jacks up gas prices
February 21, 2011 6:45 PM
Tomoya Shimura

VICTORVILLE • Buckle up.

Gas prices in California will reach $4 by Memorial Day, according to Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst or GasBuddy.com.

The average retail gasoline price in San Bernardino County has risen 21.2 cents per gallon in the past month, a hike that experts attribute to turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa. The gas prices countywide averaged $3.51 on Sunday — 65.1 cents higher than the same day one year ago, according to GasBuddy.com.

“Concerns in the Middle East have caused crude oil prices to rise in the last three weeks,” DeHaan said. “We are also dealing with the improving economy.”

There’s plenty of crude oil supply, especially in the Midwest, DeHaan said, but the economic recovery has raised demand for petroleum from investors who have speculated that prices will go up.

“It certainly would keep on rising at least for the foreseeable future,” DeHaan said.

Vandella Shogunle of Victorville said she usually doesn’t pay much attention to gas prices, but the recent increase has forced her to think twice about taking trips.

“I travel less now,” Shogunle said as she pumped gas at the ARCO on Hesperia and Nisqualli roads. “I usually just go to work and school and back. No more long-distance driving, not now.”

While gas prices have been creeping up nationwide, DeHaan said the degrees of increase vary by region. The price in San Bernardino County has risen 11.2 cents since last week compared to 4.1 cents nationally.

Brent crude oil, used in the West Coast, rose 3.1 percent to $105.70 a barrel Monday, the highest level in more than two years. West Texas Intermediate crude oil, refined mostly in the Midwest and Gulf Coast regions, jumped 6.2 percent to $95.30.

To read entire story, click here.