Iraqi crisis affects local gas prices

ST. LOUIS - The crisis in Iraq is driving up the cost of gas here at home, and as long as the conflict continues, analysts say prices will continue to rise.

The question, is by how much? And, it's one that has drivers dreading the pump.

"With a truck [the pump] stops at $100 and you have to put your card back in and do it again," said St. Louis driver Todd Roach.

"It's drinking, drinking up my pockets," said driver Marcus Neal.

Analysts say prices will remain high for as long as terrorists are threatening oil properties in Iraq.

"As long as ISIS is not put back in its box it will last," said financial analyst Lewis Bettman of Raymond James.

And, if any major oil properties do fall to ISIS…

"You could see it over $4, I don't think that's going to happen…" said Bettman.

But what is very feasible experts say, is gas reaching $4 a gallon locally. That's because Iraq was slated to be among the world's leading oil producers over the next several years, and if ISIS takes over the country's oil production, the world will be dealing with a major shortfall. While that hasn't happened yet, the fear that it could happen will likely continue to drive up prices.

"It is not whether it happens, it's whether it is perceived to happen," said Bettman.

And for drivers, it's all about perception.

"It all boils down to us paying more at the pump," said Roach.

While some say the solution is for the U.S. to pump more oil, other say the simplest solution is to stop using so much gas.

Thursday is "Dump the Pump Day." So, the St. Louis Metro, and other transit systems from across the region will be encouraging people to take advantage of cost savings associated with using public transit.


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