Itís not even summer yet, and gas prices are already soaring. The national average for a gallon of gasoline hit $3.57 this week. So whatís causing the spike? And could high gas prices end up demolishing President Obamaís slowly recovering poll numbers?
Hereís what keeps David Plouffe up at nights. (Todd Weddle/AP) By and large, the current price of gasoline isnít some deep mystery. Global oil prices are at a nine-month high of $105 per barrel
right now, in part because of tensions with Iran and in part because available crude resources can barely keep up with growing demand worldwide. When oil gets pricey, gasoline gets pricey. Whatís more, a number of U.S. gasoline refineries closed early for maintenance this year, causing pump prices to spike higher in places such as California. (The rising price of crude has also forced some unprofitable refineries to shut down
in recent months.) While some analysts argue
that speculative hedge fund money is driving up gasoline futures, global forces still appear to be the prime suspect.