Gas prices are likely to spike over this holiday weekend

As political upheaval continues to ravage Iraq and stresses the acquisition of crude oil, gas prices in the U.S. have surpassed last year's peak. The American Automobile Association has predicted motorists will encounter the highest fuel prices since 2008 on the weekend of July 4.

Futures and other speculation guide the prices of crude oil, and pessimism on crude production began to emerge as a violent campaign initiated by the Islamic State, formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, began sweeping down the country. The bloody campaign has left many speculators wondering if the oil fields in the south of Iraq would soon be targeted by the Islamic State.

AAA said gas prices typically fall in June as refineries tune up the facilities and pump out more oil to fuel the summer driving season. Gas was said to have dropped by approximately 21 cents per gallon each June in the last three years, but expectations for June of 2014 had be halved in predictions made in May 2014.

"Most drivers are paying about 15-20 cents more per gallon than expected heading into the busy Independence Day weekend due to market fear about Iraq," said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. "It is frustrating that events overseas will make it more expensive to celebrate Fourth of July here at home."

While gas prices at the start of July 2014 aren't close to 2013's peak, which was $3.88 a gallon, the July 1 mark of $3.68 beats out the year-to-date cost of gas by approximately 20 cents.

AAA has predicted that the rise in gas prices won't hinder the distances motorist choose to travel during the weekend of July 4. The automotive association stated it expects motorist to offset the increased cost of fuel on Independence Day weekend by curtailing other expenses, such as dining and shopping.

The sting of rising gas prices in July 2014 hasn't been quite as sharp in every state.

Gas prices reportedly peaked in 2013 at $3.88 per gallon in mid-September. It wasn't until late August 2013, that prices reached the July 1, 2014 price of $3.68

Utah's average gas prices were 8 cents below the national average and Idaho was 6 cents under. Montana's prices 1 cent less than the national average for gas prices and Colorado's was 0.1 cent under the line.

"It is shaping up to be a hot and expensive summer for gas prices, and we have not even hit the busiest time of the year yet," said Ash. "It is clear that most drivers will pay high prices as they fill up for their summer road trips."

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