Thursday, March 3, 2011


NEW YORK (AP) -- The recent surge in oil prices is cascading through the U.S. economy, forcing sharp increases in gasoline and other fuels that will impact spending for months to come.
Pump prices, which are already the highest ever for early March, jumped another 4 cents Thursday. The national average is $3.43 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service.
The price of gas has followed a 21 percent run-up in oil the past two weeks as protestors clash with the Libyan government, which controls the largest oil reserves in Africa. Experts say the country's exports likely will slow to a trickle as long as the turmoil continues.
Americans are now paying 29 cents more for a gallon of gas than when the Libyan crisis started. That means an extra $108 million a day goes towards gas instead of other discretionary purchases.
"This just hurts," said Lucina Chavez, whose BMW burns $200 of gasoline per month as she commutes from the suburbs to a job at a nonprofit in Phoenix. Chavez is considering carpooling or moving closer to downtown.
"It would almost be cheaper to get a hotel," she said.
Analyst and trader Stephen Schork said gasoline could rise another 32 cents per gallon this spring, peaking as high as $3.80 by summer.
Flying is getting more expensive as well. Jet fuel prices have risen about 13 percent in two weeks and are now up 46 percent from a year ago.
In turn, U.S. airlines have raised fares six times this year. Last month they tacked fuel surcharges of $3 to $5 on domestic tickets, something they hadn't done since 2008. Those surcharges are expected to increase swiftly in tandem with fuel prices.
American Airlines and Delta Air Lines also plan to fly less this year because of growing fuel costs. That means travelers will see fewer available flights and more crowded planes this spring and summer.
Even if gas prices remained frozen at their current levels it will still have a major impact on the economy. The article above is already showcased how these rising prices are impacting travel costs. These are some of the major costs convention organizers and attendees are going to have to deal with this year.

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