Middle East Turmoil Makes Oil Prices Gush

Ongoing protests and government upheaval in the Middle East may be great for freedom, but the phenomenon is costly for anyone who needs to buy gas. Oil shot up past $100 a barrel Wednesday, its highest point in more than two years.

The New York Times explains the increases are due in part to the reduction in supply, citing analysts’ estimates that as many as million barrels of Libyan oil have been taken off the world market each day. Although Libya supplies a tiny portion of the world’s oil and doesn’t export much to the United States, it produces a high-quality product that’s influential on the world market.

If European refineries are forced to rely more on major U.S. oil sources, such as Nigeria and Algeria, prices at American pumps will continue to soar. Average regular unleaded gas prices have jumped six cents a gallon over the past week to $3.19.

Why the Disruption of Libyan Oil Has Led to a Price Spike [The New York Times]