Turmoil in Iraq could affect bottom line for drivers


by Brian Farrell, 13News Now


Posted on June 18, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 18 at 7:06 AM

VIRGINIA BEACH -- The Automobile Association of America (AAA) said Tuesday that turmoil in Iraq could interrupt a price-dropping trend involving gas prices in the United States.

Typically, the cost of regular fuel comes down during the month of June. For the past three years, the national average dropped about 20 cents per gallon during that month.

"What's going on as far as the world market is concerned, what's going on Iraq will make -- possibly make -- a difference. How OPEC reacts to that may make a difference, whether military involvement happens," said Georjeane Blumling with AAA Tidewater Virginia, listing some of the elements that could influence prices heading into summer.

Already, AAA predicted drivers would pay relatively high prices, ranging from $3.55 to $3.70 cents per gallon. The top end of the range may get higher if unrest in Iraq escalates or disrupts oil production in the region.

Iraq is the second largest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), exporting more than two million barrels of oil a day. Soaring oil prices could trigger a recession. Sudden violence in Iraq, or any part of the world for that matter, tends to create angst for financial markets.

Currently, in Virginia, the average price for regular unleaded fuel is $3.46. That's six cents higher than a year ago. The current Hampton Roads average for unleaded gas is $3.55, which is 15 cents higher than a year ago.

Although there is no way to know if the situation in Iraq will, in fact, lead to higher gas prices, AAA recommends several measures to make sure you get the most out of the gasoline you purchase:

  • Properly inflate tires
  • Be gentle on the gas and brake pedals
  • Drive the speed limit
  • Plan errands in advance
  • Lighten the load you carry to improve efficiency
  • Keep up to date on vehicle maintenance

AAA also suggests drivers use apps to find gas stations with the lowest fuel cost. One  of those apps is AAA TripTik® Mobile. AAA also provides gas station location and fuel price information at AAA.com with TripTik® Travel Planner.