Average gas price increases 12 cents in Georgia

Crude oil almost $110 a barrel

Georgians can expect to pay 12 cents a gallon more than last week for regular unleaded gasoline, said a AAA spokeswoman.

Jessica Brady said Georgia’s average price is $3.66. Florida and Tennessee motorists can expect to pay 8 cents a gallon more than the week before, leaving Floridians with an average price of $3.75 a gallon, and Tennesseans with $3.56 per gallon.

She said the national average price is $3.69 a gallon, a 14-cent rise from last week.

Brady said that rising gas prices threaten the worldwide economic recovery, but that prices are expected to keep rising into spring and summer. Ongoing strains with Iran keep heightening fears of another war in the Middle East, driving oil prices to almost $110 a barrel, and increasing gas prices in the U.S., she said.

Though increasingly strict sanctions against Iran are geared toward demolishing that country’s nuclear program, Brady said, the International Atomic Energy Agency reports that the country has tripled its production of 20-percent-enriched uranium.

In June, Brady said, the U.S. will force more sanctions against financial institutions involved with Iran. Sanctions from the European Union that forbid imports of Iranian oil will start in July, she added.

Last month, she said, Iran produced almost 3.5 million barrels of oil a day, and is the second-largest country in oil production within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

“Concern and fear are driving the market at this time, and pushing oil prices to nearly $110 a barrel, resulting in record-breaking pump prices for this time of year,” said Brady. “This is happening at a time when reports show a slow, but steady global economic recovery.”

The price of a barrel of oil settled last Friday at $109.77 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, an increase of $6.53 from the week prior, she said.