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Gas prices fluctuate amid Iran tensions

Fuel cost up in NC, but only slightly

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WAKE FOREST — With a series of escalating encounters between the United States and Iran unfolding on the world stage during the first days of 2020, some local citizens are left to wonder: What will be the impact at the gas pump?

Fuel prices have fluctuated some over the last week, in part due to U.S. airstrikes that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3. Analysts say those fluctuations haven’t had any consequential effect on local gas prices — but that could change.

“It definitely can stress people out as far as availability goes,” said Wake Forest resident Ruben Ocampo while buying gas Tuesday at the Sheetz off Rogers Road, saying some might decide to drive less if the cost of fuel soared.

AAA said Monday that prices in North Carolina rose on average 1 cent on the week, and are up 36 cents from this time last year.

Crude oil prices jumped after Soleimani’s death amid speculation of what could happen to the near-term supply of oil, AAA said. Prices briefly jumped again Wednesday night after Iran launched missiles at U.S. troops in Iraq, but fell again shortly after.

“To start the first week of a new decade, the national average has seen little change, but with the U.S. targeting and Iranian General in an attack last week, there is a distinct possibility that escalations in tensions may have an affect on gas prices moving forward,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, in a statement.

DeHaan said he doesn’t expect prices to jump much unless oil infrastructure is targeted.

“For now we’re in limbo, but typically gas prices decline slightly in January and February thanks to seasonally weak gasoline demand,” he said.

Robert Ruth of Wake Forest isn’t too worried about gas prices after listening to the news.

“I would hope (Iran) would be smart enough not to contend with the power of the United States,” the retired Navy serviceman said.