Gasoline prices in Iowa rose an average of 15-cents a gallon during July and one industry analyst says it’s a toss-up for what may happen to pump prices in August. Gail Weinholzer, spokeswoman for Triple-A-Iowa, says an increase in demand usually means a spike in prices and August is a busy month for travel.

“There are a lot of people doing their last-minute summer vacations, packing up the kids and the dogs and heading out to national parks,” Weinholzer says. “Demand is usually quite high in August which doesn’t cause us any problems, so long as there are no refinery issues or hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico that cause any disruption.”

Weinholzer says the weather in the Southern U.S. can be a big factor in gas price fluctuations in the Midwest and nationwide. “We’ve seen how destructive hurricanes can be in the Gulf of Mexico, affecting oil rigs and refineries,” Weinholzer says.

“We want to keep one eye on the Gulf as we travel this last part of the summer in August to make sure there aren’t any constricted supplies due to any late-summer hurricanes.” Last summer, gasoline prices in Iowa were about 12-cents a gallon cheaper than now. As to where the prices will go in the month ahead, Weinholzer says it’s hard to predict.

“It is very difficult because it’s so much determined by the weather,” Weinholzer says. “We saw with Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it had eight years ago so it’s very important the oil refineries, rigs and platforms in the Gulf not be disrupted during this heavy demand season.”

The current average for a gallon of unleaded gas in Iowa is three-59. That’s four cents below the national average.