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Libya Unrest Pushing Local Gasoline Prices Ever Higher

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(An anti-Gadhafi protest in Bern, Switzerland.  AP photo)

(An anti-Gadhafi protest in Bern, Switzerland. AP photo)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The rebellion in Libya has caused another big spike in oil prices this week, pushing gasoline prices in our region ever higher.

Oil prices have shot up this as protesters in Libya have battled supporters of Moammar Gadhafi (see related story).

Now, analysts say jitters over the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East have added a fear premium of about ten dollars per barrel of oil.

A barrel of West Texas intermediate crude hit the $100 mark on Wednesday for the first time since 2008, while Brent crude has risen to nearly $112  per barrel.

But professor Fred Murphy of Temple University’s Fox School of Business says there are also real concerns about supplies being disrupted, causing a further increase in fuel prices.

“People are wondering how far this will go — because if it expands even further to other Middle East countries, then there could be a serious disruption in supply,” he notes.

And a corresponding disruption in family budgets.

Murphy says we’re to the point where gasoline prices are beginning to have an impact on disposable income.  And if the trend continues, he says, the already sluggish economic recovery could stall out.

Reported by Paul Kurtz, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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