Carson City gas prices increased by 46 cents in the past month

Carson City drivers are paying 46 cents more for a gallon of regular gas than they were a month ago.

That's according to a AAA fuel survey released today that shows average fuel costs increasing by more than 40 cents for the entire country amid continued tension in the Middle East.

The average price for unleaded gasoline in Nevada is $3.62, a 46-cent increase since Feb. 8. Compared to the average price for regular fuel on March 8, the cost of regular gas has gone up 80 cents in the Silver State. In Carson City, the average cost of fuel is now $3.68 while Reno's is $3.74, a 47-cent increase from last month.

Meanwhile, prices for crude oil surpassed $100 a barrel in the last month, the first time since October 2008.

"Despite the unrest and violence in the Middle East, events to date have produced little actual disruption to supply," said Michael Geeser, the spokesman for AAA Nevada. "Yet the uncertainty of where the unrest might spread has driven investors to speculate that oil prices will increase further. If prices do go up, speculators will make a profit on the product they are purchasing today."

The rising prices have increased calls on President Barack Obama to tap into the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserves, an emergency stockpile of 727 million barrels of crude oil to protect the country from disruptions in its fuel supply. Those reserves have been used twice: First in 1991 at the start of Desert Storm and again in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina.

Geeser said some analysts are discouraging such a move because there is no shortage of fuel to fill. Instead, recent price increases are being driven by investor demands and not traditional supply and demand factors.

Nevada currently has the sixth highest gas price in the lower 48 while California has the most expensive in the entire country at $3.91, a distinction usually given to Hawaii, which is averaging $3.90.

The least expensive gas is in Casper, Wyo., at $3.02.


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