TAMPA, Fla. - Oil prices inched up while debate over a possible U.S. air strike on Syria continued. Still, gas prices are beginning their usual decent following the Labor Day weekend.
"This is the time of year when gas prices typically drop," says Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman for the Auto Club Group. "We've passed the busy summer driving season so demand is down, gasoline supplies are higher than they were a year ago and this is the first time in eleven years that we've finished August without a hurricane."
However, crude reached a two year high last week, as Russian President Vladamir Putin promised to help Syria if the U.S. strikes. Syria does not produce oil, but there's concern that escalating tensions could spillover into surrounding countries potentially disrupting Middle East oil exports. "Continued discussions of a possible air strike has caused uncertainty in the market and that's keeping upward pressure on oil prices," Jenkins said.
The cost for a barrel of oil closed last Friday at $110.53 (107.65) on the NYMEX - $2.88 more than the week prior.
The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.57, two cents less than last week. Florida's average of $3.54 decreased two cents from last week, while Georgia's average of $3.49 dropped four cents from last week. Tennessee's average of $3.37 also decreased two cents from last week.