x

WNEP.com | News, Weather & Sports from WNEP-TV — Proud to Serve Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania

AAA: Middle East Conflict Could Cause Spike in Gas Prices

Scranton, Pa. — The turmoil in the Middle East will likely directly impact our daily lives here in Northeastern and Central PA. Analysts say people should...

Scranton, Pa. -- The turmoil in the Middle East will likely directly impact our daily lives here in Northeastern and Central PA.

Analysts say people should prepare for some pain at the pump.

At the Sheetz gas station in Scranton, the price for a regular gallon of gas falls just cents short of $3.

AAA says that's a jump from just last week when the average price for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area was $2.79.

“It's crazy. It was just $2.59 maybe two weeks ago and now we're at three dollars?” said Frank Rizzo of Scranton. “That's like extortion.”

Now in light of the U.S. airstrike on Iran and the president's promise to send in thousands of troops to the Middle East, AAA says gas prices could go higher as crude oil prices surged after the attack.

“What most motorists don't realize that a gallon of gasoline is made up of more than 50% crude oil, that is why the price of gas is so closely tied to the price of crude oil,” said Jana Tidwell, the spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

That's a concern for delivery driver Brittany Pienkowski who has to pay to fuel her car while on the job.

“It would be more difficult because I'm putting more gas into my car than it's worth taking the delivery for,” said Penkowski, who drives for Good Fellas Pizza in the city’s hill section. “I just put $13 into my tank and I don't know if it's even filled.”

AAA says it's just too soon to know how much of an impact the conflict in Iran will have on the oil industry; just be prepared to see prices go up at the pump.

Miguel Cintron drives an hour and a half to see his daughter.

“It's costing me about $30 round trip right now, to go grab my daughter,” said Cintron. “So yeah, it's going to cost me just for a visit.”

“It affects a lot of people, from the traveling, the commuting, going back and forth to work,” said Danny Sierra from Scranton. “So, it's going to take money everybody's pockets and have to dish out more, so they're going to have make ends meet in other places, so it's a big effect.”

If gas prices do go up, AAA has some suggestions to reduce gas usage: remove unnecessary items from your car. Try not to speed, higher speeds use more fuel, and do a one-time run for all errands rather than returning home between each store.