Despite increased sanctions to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program, the country is said to have tripled its quarterly rate of producing 20 percent-enriched uranium, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Although some sanctions are already in place, the U.S. will impose further sanctions against financial institutions that deal with Iran in June, while sanctions from the European Union to ban imports of Iranian oil will begin in July.
Iran produced nearly 3.5 million barrels of oil a day last month and is the second largest oil-producing country within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
“Concern and fear are driving the market at this time and pushing oil prices to nearly $110 a barrel resulting in record-breaking pump prices for this time of year,” said Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group. “This is happening at a time when reports show a slow, but steady global economic recovery. However, the increased cost of gas could have a negative impact on the economic turnaround as it eats in to more consumers’ disposable income. Unfortunately, we’re not expected to see relief at the pump anytime soon, instead prices are expected to increase well into spring and summer.”
The price of a barrel of oil closed Friday at $109.77 on the New York Mercantile Exchange--$6.53 more than the week prior. This is the highest settlement since May of last year.
The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.68, a 13-cent increase from last week. Florida’s average of $3.74 increased 7 cents and Tennessee’s average of $3.56 increased 8 cents from last week. Georgia’s average price of $3.65 jumped 11 cents from last week, respectively. Visit AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report to find national, state, and local metro market retail gasoline prices.
Current and past gas price averages: National: