"... the escalating situation in Iraq takes hold and drives crude oil and retail gasoline prices higher," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "While the U.S. only receives about 300,000 barrels of Iraqi crude per day, the concern is about the other 3 million or so barrels per day that Iraq pumps, which could be at risk of disruption. It's that perceived threat that may cause the national average this week to rise 3-6 cents per gallon. The bigger picture here is that the timing of the situation in Iraq could threaten the possibility that motorists see lower prices this summer, as we had anticipated in our much earlier forecasts," DeHaan said.
Iraq is the third-largest exporter of oil in the world and has the fifth-largest crude reserves, according to the Energy Information Administration.
While the U.S. has become virtually self-sufficient when it comes to oil and natural gas production, the impact of the middle east reflects the nature of oil and refined gasoline as a worldwide commodity where an impact in supplies in one region can impact U.S. prices even if we use relatively little of their oil exports.
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