By: Mary Robb Jackson

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The cost of a gallon of gasoline is increasing at a dizzying rate, and that has left many asking why and wondering about the impact it is having on us.

By Thursday morning, as new gasoline deliveries are made to area stations, some dealers will have no choice but to begin charging more that $3.30 for a gallon of regular unleaded; and it’s likely to keep going up.

The price of a gallon of gas went up nearly a nickel this week.

“I spend anywhere from $100 to $150 a week. I’m a nurse and I travel from house to house and this is a gas guzzler,” one local woman said.

The Middle East is part of the problem.

“Currently it’s the political unrest in Libya that has affected oil prices. In fact, oil prices increase 10 percent week over week,” said Bevi Powell, of East Central AAA.

Locally on average, Washington is cheapest per gallon at $3.17. Pittsburgh’s in the middle at $3.19, and Meadville is highest at $3.29.

“We’ve got plenty of oil out there, but the oil that will be coming on the market will be more expensive to develop and process than the oil we’re used to, and that’s where the price increase is coming,” said Powell.

When not teaching at Duquesne University, Dr. Kent Moors is an advisor to governments and corporations.

“We’re going to be at well over a $100 a barrel before the end of this quarter,” he said.

Dr. Moors believes the rising cost of gas goes well beyond just pain at the pump.

“The U.S. market has been built on the availability of cheap energy, and so when the energy gets more expensive, it isn’t simply that you can’t afford to drive your SUV, it’s that suddenly you don’t have a job to drive to,” said Dr. Moors.

Dr. Moors doesn’t think that we’ll see $5 a gallon anytime soon, unless a lot of nasty things happen at once.
However, he says we are in the middle of Marcellus Shale country, and he believes a long predicted move away from gasoline to compressed natural gas for transportation fuel is the only immediate way out of this energy bind.

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