TAMPA, Fla. - Retail gas prices fell 2 cents from last week and remain 15 to 20 cents less than last year. However, the increased violence in Egypt pushed oil prices higher and will continue to keep upward pressure on fuel prices until it ceases.
The recent violence in Egypt creates more concern that supplies in the region will be disrupted, specifically those that pass through the Suez Canal. At this time, the Suez Canal is operational and transports about 2.5 million barrels of oil a day.
"As long as the Suez Canal remains open and oil is transported daily, motorists should not see a huge spike in gas prices as a direct result of violence in Egypt. That also means not to expect large drops in gas prices either," said Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group. "Tensions in the Mideast and North Africa will continue to keep oil prices elevated because the region provides such a high percentage of the world's oil supply."
In the first quarter of the year, the Middle East provided 35 percent of the world's oil output, according to the International Energy Agency.
The cost for a barrel of oil closed last Friday at $107.46 on the NYMEX - $1.49 more than the week prior.
The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.54, 2 cents less than last week. Florida's average of $3.51, Georgia's average of $3.44, and Tennessee's average of $3.32 all fell 2 cents from last week. Visit AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report to find national, state, and local metro market retail gasoline prices.