WASHINGTON, June 30 (UPI) -- Tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico could put more pressure on gasoline prices than conflict in the Middle East, a petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com said.
Motor club AAA said in a mid-June report the Sunni-led insurgency in parts of Iraq was putting pressure on oil prices and creating spikes in retail gasoline prices. Historically, gas prices start to decline in early summer, though overseas turmoil was keeping the price at the pump elevated.
"The big risk for 2014 gas prices still looms in the form of tropical weather in midsummer," he said in an interview published Saturday.
AAA reports a national average price Monday of $3.68, relatively unchanged from one month ago. Compared with last year, however, Monday's price for a gallon of regular unleaded is nearly 20 cents more.
The Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department, said its estimates 12 million barrels of crude oil and 30 billion cubic feet of natural gas could be forced offline during the current hurricane season. That would be three and four times higher than 2013, respectively, if forecasts are accurate.
Tropical Storm Karen was the only storm last year to effect production in U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It shut down 3.1 million barrels of oil and 6.7 billion cubic feet of gas in October.