News Local/State

Gas Buddy:  Concerns Over Syrian Strike Impacting Price at Pump


Gas prices in Champaign have gone up 10 cents a gallon in the past week, to about $3.65 a gallon.  A petroleum analyst says the anxiety over a possible U.S. strike in Syria is the biggest factor. 

Patrick DeHaan of the website said whatever President Obama says in his address Tuesday night, it’s going to weigh heavily on the price at the pump.

He said if the US ultimately does take military action, it could mean oil prices could climb as much as 5 to 10 dollars a barrel.  But DeHaan contends that not taking military action could have a bigger impact.

“I think the market is already somewhat priced in that we will attack," he said.  "So I think that if we don’t, it will probably be a bigger mover.  If we do attack, sure prices will probably go up, but I think at this point, all bets are kind of that – there’s been a lot of talk of attacking.  If we don’t attack, I think it will be a bigger surprise for the market.”

Gas prices on Sunday were 13.9 cents higher per gallon than a month ago, but about 12 cents lower than a year ago. 

And although it’s been a quiet hurricane season, DeHaan said that could still have an impact on prices.

But he said September also brings lower demand as kids return to school, and more people are at home watching football.

'Then you have to return to winter gasoline, which should not necessarily cause a sudden dive in prices, but it will help with refinery kinks that do come up," he said.  "Suddenly you've switched back to a specification of gasoline that is used in the entire area, instead of having all these regional differences."

DeHaan says an attack on Syria should not impact oil prices as much as when the U.S. started military intervention in Libya in 2011, spiking the price by 20 to 50 cents a gallon.