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UTEP Economist Predicts Gas Prices Will Level Off Before $4

Since the beginning of February, the national average for a gallon of gas has risen 14 cents. The national average for a gallon of gas was $3.57 as of Monday, setting an all time record high price for Presidents Day weekend.

But what is causing the spike in prices before the summer rush?

“Not only is it fears over potential supply disruptions in the Middle East, but it’s also the fact that the global economy is growing fairly strongly,” said UTEP economics professor Dr. Tom Fullerton.

Not a surprising answer, given that many economists and gas price speculations are based on dozens of factors.

Fullerton doesn’t see gas prices continuing to rise.

“Gasoline prices are likely to remain at about $3.50 per gallon, maybe increase a little bit to $3.60 per gallon, but it would be surprising given current economic conditions if they went much above that in the absence of any type of supply disruption from the Middle East,” said Fullerton.

Fullerton also said that in 2008 when national averages rose to over $4, the economy was more robust and able to handle higher prices.

With the current recession, $4 gas prices would seriously impact the american population and make it more difficult to get the country further out of the recession.

“At present, the economy is still a little bit weak, so increases in gasoline prices put the expansion at risk,” he said.

But with major issues still plaguing the Middle East, the chance that prices could spike can’t be ruled out entirely.

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