Will growing tensions with Iran impact gas prices across Delaware Valley?

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As tensions grow between the United States and Iran, drivers across the Delaware Valley are left wondering, 'Will my gas prices go up?'

One local expert says consumers have a right to be concerned, but they shouldn't panic.

"Right now, what we're seeing out of the market is a concern, not panic," said University of Pennsylvania Political Science Professor Michael C. Horowitz. "We have not seen major spikes and gas prices. No one should be waiting in line for gas. There's enough spare capacity in the oil markets that they can sustain a crisis for some period of time."

Still, on the day of the US strike that killed Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani, US markets took a slight dip and gas prices saw a slight increase.

AAA Mid-Atlantic says the price of crude oil rose 4 percent on that. It's also had an impact locally

"Gas prices since Friday...have gone up in the tri-state area anywhere from $.03 to $.05 per gallon. That's not a huge increase compared to other global events that we've seen take place."

According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline stands at $2.58. Pennsylvania's average stands at $2.83 as of January 7. In Delaware, the average is $2.43. New Jersey's average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.64. Experts say the prices could continue to rise if the conflict with Iran rises.

"About 50 percent of a gallon of gasoline that you put into your car is made of crude oil," said Tidwell. "So, if the price of crude oil increases, the price of gasoline will increase."
The area of the conflict is key to its impact on gas prices.

"About 20 percent of the world's crude oil moves through the southern part of Iran," said Tidwell. "That's a crucial juncture there."

Still, Horowitz doesn't anticipate any major escalations between the US and Iran this week.

"Both sides actually don't want to fight a big war," he said, adding that the back-and-forth may just be political posturing between the countries. "Nobody wants to look weak."
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