Civil war in Iraq will likely increase prices at the gas pumps in Killeen in the coming weeks, according to some experts.
On Monday, prices hovered between $3.30 and $3.49 for a gallon of regular in Killeen.
Killeen resident Robert Painter said gas prices are outrageous.
“I thought we had reserves. Have we dipped into our reserves?” he asked. “I do not understand how the Iraq uprising should affect us. It makes me mad that we rely so heavily on the Middle East. We seem to suffer all the consequences from helping them out military-wise and we pay in the end with gas prices going through the roof.”
Two gas stations — the CEFCO at Trimmer and Stan Schlueter Loop and the Chevron station at W.S. Young Drive and Stan Schlueter — were both among the lowest at $3.30 per gallon.
H-E-B on Trimmier was at $3.38 per gallon for regular, and the Wal-Mart in Harker Heights was at $3.36 per gallon around noon Monday.
The national average increased 1.8 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.65 per gallon, according to the gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.
Average retail gasoline prices in Texas rose 1.3 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.44 per gallon, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 13,114 gas outlets in Texas.
Texas prices were 5.2 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 1.5 cents per gallon higher than a month ago, and they could rise more with recent turmoil in the Middle East.
“The national average has stayed relatively flat for the last month, but that appears to be over, as the escalating situation in Iraq takes hold and drives crude oil and retail gasoline prices higher,” said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com. “Motorists in some areas of the country have already seen slight price increases, and although the situation is still in its early stages, motorists should be ready for higher gasoline prices if the situation in Iraq threatens the ability of Iraq to export crude oil.”
The price of oil climbed above $107 a barrel but eased from earlier highs Monday as fears of widening instability in Iraq — a key energy producer — were tempered by views that its oil exports would not be affected for now.
“It is sad that tensions in the Middle East have to make us here suffer the consequences with gas prices going up,” said Patricia Lewis-Robertson, of Harker Heights. It also adds stress to traveling and vacations “as you have to figure in the cost of fuel to get from point A to point B.”
Brian Hall, of Copperas Cove, said the U.S. should look at alternatives to curb the impact of rising gas prices.
“I moved here from California and the gas prices there are ridiculous,” he said. “The American government needs to start pushing more on ethanol and electric cars so we don’t have to rely on other countries.”
Hall said his brother fought in the war on terror and was badly wounded.
“It bothers me to see us back in Iraq again because the (Iraqi) military was not ready to take over,” he said. “I’m not a military guy, but I do know that when a country does not want to become a democracy, then we should just leave them be. I am not sure what effect these actions in the Middle East will have on gas, but ... it can’t keep getting out of control on holidays, summer or fights in Iraq.”
The northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar became the latest to fall to the militants, who have already captured a vast swath of territory including Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul. The militants have vowed to march on Baghdad.
The capture of Mosul, a crucial gateway for Iraq’s crude oil, raised worries about whether the country can rebuild its energy infrastructure and boost production to meet global demand, but most of Iraq’s oil exports appeared to be beyond the militants’ reach.
“Oil production in the south of the country is still secure,” said analysts at Commerzbank in Frankfurt in a note to clients, pointing out that around 90 percent of Iraq’s oil exports of 2.5 million barrels a day were shipped from there.
The U.S. receives about 300,000 barrels of Iraqi crude per day, according to GasBuddy.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.