Airstrikes in Syria cause oil prices to surge - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Airstrikes in Syria cause oil prices to surge

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Oil prices sharply surged following U.S. airstrikes in Syria on Thursday.

According to GasBuddy.com, oil prices rose in quiet after-hours trade by a dollar per barrel to $52.70 after news of the attack broke.

The site's researchers said that while there has not yet been a major impact on North American gasoline prices, the situation could rapidly change.

On Friday, the average price for a gallon of regular in Connecticut rose about a penny to $2.43.

“Some people are speculating because of the conflict oil prices will be higher, people rush and buy now in the hopes of selling at higher prices later," Farhad Rassekh, who is a professor of economics at the University of Hartford, said.

Rassekh said he believes the impact on gas prices will be minimal with an increase of 5 cents and it would be temporary. But, if violence continues in the Middle East region that could change.

"As we've seen in the past, oil prices hate turmoil," Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst said in statement on Thursday. "[Thursday night's] surge in prices comes as questions remain about military action in Syria moving future. Geopolitical tensions have surged [Thursday night] between some of the world's largest oil producers, and the market, with concern abounding, will likely send oil prices higher. It is too early to know how severe or how long the impact to oil prices may be."

However, Rassekh said if nothing else happens, gas prices will come back down. To monitor local gas prices, head to GasBuddy's website here.

GasBuddy said the attacks bring forth risk and uncertainty on a global scale.

"Oil's rise [Thursday] evening is based on geopolitical circumstance and as a benchmark commodity and hedge, it is likely its value will rise in proportion to developments," said Dan McTeague, senior Canadian petroleum analyst.

Seven people were killed in the U.S. air strikes in Syria, according to the Syrian military. The attacks were in retaliation for a chemical attack against Syrian civilians.

Syria's use of poison gas on its own people has outraged those in the United States. Rassekh said that's a similar reaction among the Middle East.

"I don't believe all the countries in the middle east are behind Syria," Rassekh said. "I believe most are against the atrocities by Syria."

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