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Gas Prices On Climb Toward $4 A Gallon

Gasoline prices are on the rise again. AAA-Texas says the average statewide price is six cents higher than last week. KERA’s BJ Austin says some energy analysts predict four-dollar-a-gallon gas by spring.

Bruce Bullock, director of SMU’s Maguire Energy Institute, says gasoline is already higher than normal for this time of year. He says there are several reasons for that.

Bullock: Though the market is very well supplied, we’ve seen demand continue to grow in Asia and some of the other growing areas of the world. And that’s pushed up prices to their current levels. But a lot of it is the tensions in the Middle East, as well, particularly the Iran situation.

As Iran faces tighter international sanctions over its nuclear program, the country has threatened US Navy ships that sail into the Strait of Hormuz – critical for oil shipping.

Bullock says he wouldn’t be surprise to see gas prices in North Texas lap at four dollars a gallon soon, but not much higher, and not for long.

Bullock: We know for experience though that once gasoline prices hit four dollars a barrel people really do change their habits. People just stop driving. So, I don’t see prices going a lot higher than that.

Bullock says reduced demand brings down prices at the pump.

AAA-Texas says the average price of a gallon of gas statewide is $3.15 a gallon. It’s a penny higher in Dallas and Fort Worth. Gas prices in North Texas have jumped 14 cents in the past two weeks.

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.