Jamestown area gas prices stayed about the same this week at $3.85 cents a gallon, according to AAA East Central.
The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.66 per gallon. Tuesday's average is about 5 cents more per gallon more than the same date last year. The national average has increased for six consecutive days for a total of about 2 cents more per gallon as violence in Iraq has intensified.
AAA predicted that drivers will pay relatively high prices this summer, ranging from $3.55 to $3.70 cents per gallon, however this range may be higher if unrest in Iraq escalates or disrupts oil production in the region. Gas prices often decline in June and the national average fell the previous three years at an average of about 20 cents per gallon. The recent turmoil in Iraq is likely to prevent that trend from repeating this year. Iraq has the fifth largest proven oil reserve in the world and is the second largest producer of crude oil in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Markets will continue to monitor the conflict closely due to the potential for violence to spread to neighboring oil producing nations, and the overarching regional foreign policy implications associated with an Iraqi civil war.
After a run-up late last week, and with no major market-moving news over the weekend, crude oil prices were relatively steady on Monday. At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate crude oil settled at $106.90.