Gas prices: How high will they go?

Update: Friday, Marach 11th at 11:45 a.m.: WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says he's prepared to tap the country's emergency oil reserve should the situation demand it.

As gas prices rise some in Congress have been calling on Obama to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Obama spoke at a White House news conference Friday as gas prices in the U.S. climbed past $3.54 per gallon.

Oil prices have surged 24 percent since the middle of February as unrest in the Middle East rattled world markets, although prices slid Friday on the possibility of reduced demand because of the tsunami that hit Japan.

Republicans have sought to blame Obama's policies for the high gas prices, saying he should be allowing more offshore drilling, though experts say more domestic production wouldn't immediately impact prices.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) Update: Friday, Marach 11th at 8:15 a.m.: President Obama is expected to address rising oil and gas prices at a news conference Friday morning.Fuel prices have been on the rise as fighting continues in Libya.Most estimates suggest around half of that country's 1.6 million barrels per day of oil capacity is out of action.The Wall Street Journal reports that in a Thursday news conference, House Speaker John Boehner blamed the Obama adminstration for the current crisis by blocking America's energy production.The President is also expected to discuss the massive earthquake and tsunami overnight in northen Japan at Friday's 10:15 CT news conference. Oil prices have dropped below $100 per barrel for the first time in more than a week after that massive earthquake spawned a tsunami. Japan is the third-largest oil importer in the world. It's unclear how much its economy will be affected by the disaster.

Update: Thursday, March 10th at 9:10 a.m.: Oil prices are dropping with investors trying to gauge how much a recent surge in fuel prices has impacted a recovering, yet fragile economy. But even with the slight drop in oil prices, most prices at the pump haven't dropped. In fact, the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded inched up less than penny overnight to $3.529.So far, the numbers say these high prices at the pump haven't slowed consumption. But that could soon change, economist Michael Lynch warns that motorists and businesses may start cutting back if oil remains above the $100 per barrel level.The jump in oil has already pushed the average price for gas up by 46 cents a gallon, and it comes at a time with many laid off workers are just returning to a daily commute with new jobs.Benchmark West Texas Intermediate for April delivery fell $1.20 to $103.18 per barrel Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude lost $1.15 to $114.79 per barrel. Economic analysts said oil prices contribute about 50 to 70% of what the price is at the gas station. Other factors include geography, weather, the value of the dollar and any problems at refineries. Plus, gas stations price their gas at what it costs to replace it, not produce it. A U.S News and World Report article looks at what you're actually paying for when you're filling up. The next few weeks is usually the time when refineries switch to their summer blend. This blend that evaporates less easily in the warm weather is more expensive, so prices will once again inch up.Have you seen any drop in prices so far this week?

Original Story:

Gas prices rose again Tuesday. The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded sits at $3.52, up 15 cents for the month of March, and up for the 21st straight day.In Mid-Missouri, gas prices have spiked about 20 cents in the past week. Jefferson City checks in with the most expensive gas at $3.40 per gallon. According to AAA; most other local cities are now selling gas for $3.39. On Monday, some Columbia gas stations were selling gas for $3.26 and $3.30 at parts of the Lake; but not anymore.CNN reports California drivers are paying the most for gas. The state TMs average is more than $3.90, but parts of Southern California have gas selling for nearly $5.00 a gallon.Monday, the market pushed crude oil prices higher, to $107 a barrel. Experts said that was in part because forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi launched airstrikes against opposition fighters at an oil port.Early Tuesday, Oil prices were showing little change in New York.The Financial Times is reporting that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Nigeria are to produce another one million barrels of oil per day. OPEC says it plans to ramp up production to make up for the loss of Libyan crude. Analysts say traders have pushed up prices because of uncertainty, driving up gas prices.Experts said the rising gas prices will hurt the economic recovery in multiple ways. Transportation costs will be affected; hitting many business, airfare and food prices. Families TM budgets and summer vacation plans will also be hit.

To find gas prices in your area, or an area you're traveling to; check out GasBuddy to compare prices and find the cheapest gas. What about you? How are gas prices where you fill up? And how will these prices affect your family and any vacation plans?Any predictions? How high do you think gas prices will go?