Gas prices jump to new highs

February 25, 2011 4:08:53 PM PST
With the unrest in the Middle East, one of the consequences here is at the pump.

At some gas stations, drivers are seeing prices jump within an hour.

No doubt it is a sticker shock for anyone trying to buy gas. The average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded is about $3.84, and this is as fuel costs continue to creep upward.

So far this week, gas prices rose about 12 cents per gallon. Many motorists are hoping for but beginning to realize that little relief is in sight.

The numbers don't lie.

Gas prices are on the rise again because of a spike in oil prices.

"And that's ridiculous. What do we do? This is ridiculous," said motorist Dennis Smalley.

While prices for that oil just began to go higher, gas companies aren't waiting to hike prices in response.

Analysts say expect that to continue.

"There is probably a shock to the system, and what could turn out to be an historic shock to the system," said Phil Flynn with PFG Best.

For a third day, rising U.S. gas prices began to hit stations across the country and in suburbs like Naperville where the price for a gallon of regular unleaded jumped from $3.28 to $3.48 inside an hour.

It's not any better in Chicago where the surge has the owner of Atino's Pizza trying to balance raising fuel costs for his delivery drivers and keeping customer prices low.

"They want to raise the prices and they have no money now," said owner of Atino's Pizza Mohammad Abughoush.

The national average price for a gallon of regular gas rose 5.9 cents to just over $3.28.

According to AAA Chicago, gasoline also jumped 6 cents overnight in the city, where prices averaged almost $3.50.

"We're not even talking about $5 a gallon, and not even $4 a gallon for that matter. It's really too soon to predict what's going to happen," said Beth Mosher with AAA Chicago.

Crude oil prices have been driven higher by political unrest in both North Africa and the Middle East.

Experts say the market is panicked because it thinks supplies will be disrupted.

Unfortunately, most say they can't do anything but except pay the price.

And motorists aren't the only ones paying the price. As a result of this spike in oil and jet fuel prices, some of the airlines are responding with an oil surcharge of $10, $20 and upwards.