Drivers face rising gas prices at the pump this summer

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Wilmington drivers say they're already taking notice of climbing gas prices at the pump. Experts say forecasts show prices rising to around $3 per gallon.

While AAA is attributing a rise to the decision to impose sanctions on Iran, Regional Economist Adam Jones said increases are primarily due to economic growth.

"As the economy grows, individuals and firms need more fuel, which means the demand for oil is going to increase, but we can only pump oil out of the ground so quickly," Jones said.

Jones added that Iran supplies around 3 percent of the world's oil, and that sanctions would affect just a third of that. Overall, he said less than 1 percent of the world's oil supply will be affected.

According to Jones, because the increase is driven by growth, it will likely outlast recent political controversy.

Jones explained that costs are expected to rise across the country, but could have a particular impact on the Cape Fear Region.

"I think it has potential to affect Wilmington in that we're a largely tourist-based economy, and as gasoline prices go up, people may consider their trips to the beach," he said. "As long as their expectations about the future and the economy are strong, and they're optimistic about the future, I think it will have a relatively minimal impact on us."

For fishermen Joseph Metcalf and his father, rising gas prices could impact their business this summer.

"(It) just means at the end of the day we'll take home less money, so we'll have to either work harder or catch more or produce more for whatever we're doing," Joseph said.

To find the cheapest gas in town, make sure to use the Pump Patrol feature on the drop-down menu of the WECT News App.

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