Higher demand for oil worldwide is causing local gas prices to surge

Gas prices already up 20 cents from one month ago

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Palm Beach County is home to one of the highest average prices of gas in the state. At $3.68 per gallon, that's already 20 cents more than one month ago. Drivers are fed up with gassing up.

"I'm not surprised. Between the oil companies an political activities, consumers don't have much opportunity," says Jeff Schmier.
 
The Oil Price Information Service estimates prices will be up to $4 per gallon by May. But it may not take until then for that to happen. A Valero gas station off Palmetto Park Road is already advertising $3.97. 
 
F.A.U. economics professor Bill Stronge,  says the problem has nothing to do with South Florida. He says political uncertainty in Iran could cause disruption of oil exports. The Middle Eastern county has threatened to close down major routes for oil transport.
 
"If the oil gets disrupted in some way, the countries that were importing it will start competing with us for oil we do import," says Stronge.
 
That means less oil to go around. Meanwhile, China and India are expanding their auto industry, placing an even bigger demand on oil.
 
"Until that situation resolves itself, one way or another, I wouldn't look to see the price go down," says Stronge.
 
That prospect has drivers demanding alternatives. 
 
"I think we need different fuel sources so it doesn't go on forever," says Pam Stern.
 
Stronge says the U.S. could become self-sufficient in oil and gas within a decade, but that won't help today's pain at the pump.
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