The U.S. economy is slowly emerging from recession, meaning higher demand for energy products is anticipated for 2012. Tensions in the Middle East, however, could have a greater impact on gasoline prices.
Patrick DeHaan, a petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, tells CNN Money that Iranian threats regarding oil-shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz are likely to push gasoline prices to close to $4 per gallon in some markets and close to $5 for Chicago and New York by Memorial Day.
Iran has never closed the key strait despite numerous threats to do so.
Retail gasoline prices, the American Automobile Association says, averaged $3.39 for the United States, up about 30 percent from the same period last year.
Average gasoline prices topped out at $4.11 in the summer of 2008, the dawn of the recession that eventually crippled world markets.