A state expert on gas prices says the market’s so “jittery” right now, you can expect pump prices to rise again for Labor Day weekend. Patti Cale-Finnegan of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says fuel prices have actually dropped in Iowa this past month, but she expects fuel prices to rise because crude oil is now selling at a new peak price of $46.95 a barrel. Cale-Finnegan says there’s higher worldwide demand for oil, and capacity is stretched to its limits. But she says what’s driving crude oil prices so high is what she terms a “fear factor” that is inflating crude oil’s price by up to 16 dollars per barrel. Cale-Finnegan says the fear is of supply disruptions. She says the recent election in Venezuela sparked fears a new government might cut oil production; a big oil company in Russia is having financial problems and there’s a worldwide concern that terrorists will try to disrupt oil production. She says Iowans don’t really realize how much we’re affected by global events, because when something happens in an oil-producing country, it can drive gas prices in Iowa higher. The state’s August 15th survey found gas prices in Iowa were an average of five cents lower than they’d been a month earlier. But the price of gasoline in Iowa is about 45 cents a gallon higher than at this time last year
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