- (PHOTO: Reuters)
The idea of $5 gas has struck fear in Americans worried about economy, and as controversy ensues over how to fix the economy, many see higher gas prices as a sign of stagnant growth.
Gas at $5 by the summertime seems to be inevitability when compared with gas prices all over the U.S. In California, gas prices rocketed up 23 cents in under a week to $4.14 a gallon, and one reporter, Cecilia Vega, saw gas prices jump from $4.99 to $5.09 in just a few minutes.
"You may indeed have to pay $5 a gallon if you buy your summer gasoline on a tropical island, Martha's Vineyard, or one of the tonier suburbs of New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles," wrote Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service on a blog post.
Part of the blame for gas as high as $6 in Florida has to do with the price of crude oil. At $107 a barrel - the highest price for the black gold since May of last year- gas prices can't help but go up.
But what raises the price of oil?
"There hasn't been a price increase in the past five years that hasn't been due to speculators," said Sal Risalvato, executive director of New Jersey Gasoline, C-Store, Automotive Association. "This is a bet. This is going to Atlantic City in a very legal, sophisticated way. They are betting there will be less oil and more people who want it."
Still, some experts say those spectators should have hedged their bets. According to them, gas won't hit $5 nationally, but could in a few hot spots around the country.
"We're probably not going to hit $5 a gallon," Phil Flynn, an oil analyst, told FOX Business Network. "If the worst-case scenario doesn't happen we're going to a bunch of oil sitting around in tankers that will put significant downward pressure on prices."
The "worst-case scenario" to which Flynn refers is the conflict surrounding Iran. For Flynn, the tension between Iran and Israel is driving up gas prices, so if it is resolved, "prices really fall" - possibly to under $3 a gallon.