We’ve been telling you about price spikes that pushed crude oil above $70 a barrel. As a new trading week begins, the next milestone might be $80 – mostly because of President Donald Trump getting tough on Iran.
Brent crude oil, the international benchmark for petroleum prices, briefly topped $80 a barrel late week – the highest since 2014.
Closer to home, West Texas Intermediate Crude also hit a four-year high, topping $71 a barrel.
The upward trend continues because of market concerns that the Trump administration's sanctions on Iran's crude exports might even more successful than first thought. Some analysts say the sanctions could wipe 1 million barrels a day of Iranian crude off the market.
Another factor is Venezuela, where output is falling because its economy continues to crumble. ConocoPhillips is attempting to seize the assets of the state-run oil company there.
Karr Ingham, petroleum economist for the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers, continues to believe thinks the price spike from the Iran deal pullout will be temporary, though, even for West Texas Intermediate.
The demand for oil will remain, though, and supply will remain tight, Ingham tells Newsradio 740 KTRH.
He said, however, that he once dismissed previous forecasts of oil reaching $80 to $100 a barrel by the end of the year – but now says that reaching the lower end of that prediction would not shock him.
As for what it means for the average Texan: If you work in the oil and gas industry, the signs are healthy. And whether you do or don’t, expect to pay more at the gas pump for months. The United States is approaching the summer driving season -- when refineries typically draw down inventories to meet increased demand at the pump.