Gas prices have surged in recent weeks and analysts predict they’ll keep rising, creating fresh openings for GOP attacks against President Obama that had waned when prices dropped sharply.
The nationwide average for regular gasoline is $3.60-per-gallon, a 24-cent rise over the past four weeks, according to AAA.
Prices are well below the peak of nearly $4 in early April, a run-up that fueled constant GOP criticism of White House energy policies and threw Obama on the defensive. The frequency of political clashes over gas prices have tapered off since prices tumbled.
But several analysts told The Hill that costs at the pump are likely to continue their recent rise through August.
Friday brought fresh evidence that pump prices are likely primed for more increases in coming weeks.
U.S. oil futures prices, buoyed in part by the Labor Department report of 163,000 jobs created in July, jumped by over $4-per-barrel to settle at $91.40 in New York trading. Prices for European Brent crude, which some U.S. refiners use, also rose sharply Friday.
A continued rise in oil prices, which had fallen below $78-per-barrel for U.S. crude in June, would fuel what analysts say is already going to be some pump price increases on tap.
“I am expecting that over the next couple of weeks, gasoline prices are going to continue to drift up another 10 cents a gallon,” said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates. He predicts a peak in the range of $3.70 to $3.80.
Tom Kloza, the chief analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, sees prices in the $3.60-$3.75 range this month before easing back after Labor Day.