If political unrest in Libya spreads to other oil-rich countries and the ensuing chaos disrupts crude oil production, gas prices could hit $5 a gallon by peak summer driving season, industry analysts say.
Oil prices soared to the highest level in more than two years as violence spread in Libya and Moammar Gadhafi’s grip weakened. Only a small amount of Libya’s oil production appeared to have been affected, though analysts fear revolts will spread to OPEC heavyweights like Iran.
Benchmark West Texas Intermediate for April delivery jumped $4.59, or 5% to $94.30 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The last time oil traded at that level was Oct. 2, 2008. The April contract traded as high as $98.48 per barrel.