Blumenthal talks tough on Iran, but analysts warn of gas price spike
As the Israel-Hamas war rapidly escalates, Sen. Richard Blumenthal called for tighter oil sanctions against Iran on Monday.
But energy analysts warned that the move could potentially lead to higher gas prices.
DRIVERS FILL UP
So far, fuel prices have actually dropped since the war began on Oct. 7.
Still, many drivers are filling up – just in case.
“I said, ‘Let me stop by before it's too late – before they go up again,’” said Myron, a driver in Norwalk.
In Connecticut, AAA reported a statewide averaged $3.58 per gallon on Monday. That's almost a quarter cheaper than one month ago. It's also less than a year ago.
“I’d like to see it a little bit lower, but I like the direction it's going,” said Ezequiel Cruz, another driver from Norwalk.
OIL SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN
The war in Gaza could soon change drivers’ luck.
At a state Capitol news conference, Blumenthal called for tighter oil sanctions against Iran, accusing the regime of funding Hamas terror attacks in Israel – as well as proxy attacks against U.S. forces in the region.
“The despicable, devastating attack by Hamas on Israel on Oct. 7 used resources provided by Iran,” he said. “Hamas received a green light from Iran to do that attack, and Hezbollah may receive a green light to attack from the north.”
But unless Saudi Arabia steps in with more oil production, energy analysts warned that less oil will equal more money at the pump.
“Regardless of whether we're just enforcing existing sanctions, or implementing new sanctions, the bottom line is – that means less oil for the world,” said Chris Herb, with the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association. “And that means, unfortunately, higher prices at the pump in Connecticut.”
If the U.S. gets drawn into a wider Middle Eastern war, other experts think we’re headed for historically high gas prices.
“If they keep attacking our soldiers, more Americans get killed, if any American hostage gets killed, there's going to be a huge public outcry – a huge political outcry – for Biden to do something. And then he's going to strike those oil fields,” predicted Michael Fox, with the Connecticut chapter of the Gasoline and Automotive Dealers Association. “If the U.S. carries out a strike on the oil fields, they say it could go to $157 [per barrel] … If we hit $157, you're looking more in the $5 range [for gas].”
Analysts said there is a bright spot, though. Connecticut just switched over to cheaper winter fuel blends, which could balance out price spikes.