Iraq Fighting May Hike Gas Prices [AUDIO]
Iraq is the world's third-largest oil producer, so the new insurgency puts its supply to world markets in jeopardy.
"If the violence in northern Iraq erupts into violence in southern Iraq, where most of the exports come, it changes everything," said Tom Kloza, an analyst with GasBuddy.com, sounding a very ominous note about the current uncertainty in the Middle East. "Based on what's happened in Iraq in the past 10 days or so, really, I don't think anybody is ruling anything out at the moment."
He said the U.S. is insulated somewhat because current shale production is at an all-time high, but if overseas production from Iraq is curtailed, overall crude prices will rise. That means, where we expected to see a decline of 5 to 15 cents at the pump this driving season, we may see that much of an increase.
The stock market closed lower again on Thursday, and while that was due mainly to lackluster economic news, uncertainty about the future of Iraq's oil supply to world markets was also a factor.