After dropping to a low of $79.76 per barrel the week of July 2, the lowest weekly closing price since September 24, 2010, oil is on the rise again. With just one day left in the week, oil closed at $92.66 today on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The prices are being driven by reports of lower inventories and renewed concerns about the Middle East as tensions increase amid new Israeli charges of Iranian terrorism. In addition, there are problems transporting oil on the Mississippi River due to the prolonged drought, which is said to be the worst in 50 years. Shippers are having to load less crude per barge because of a significant drop in the water level.
The increases are already showing up at the pump: according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, the average nationwide retail price for a gallon of unleaded has risen 7.3 cents since hitting a low of $3.291 the week of July 2. AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report shows today’s national average price is $3.437, 5.3 cents higher than the price last week, though still below the price at this time last month and this time last year.