(Newsroom America) -- Drivers, beware: Gas prices are expected to hit record highs over the approaching Labor Day weekend, pushed higher by both natural and manmade events, analysts say.
Hurricane Isaac, along with a major, deadly blast at Venezuela's Amuay refinery, have already pushed retail costs to a four-month high, with average pump prices hitting $3.797 per gallon Wednesday, up nearly 30 cents from just a month ago, according to price-tracking Web site GasBuddy.com
Isaac has forced closures of Gulf Coast refineries adding another element that is forcing prices higher at a time of year when, traditionally, prices fall as the summer driving season comes to an end.
Higher prices are once again taking on a presidential tone, pitting President Obama's call to eliminate billions of dollars in subsidies for oil and gas companies against GOP nominee Mitt Romney's aim of keeping those subsidies in place while dramatically boosting domestic oil and gas exploration, a policy he says will decrease U.S. reliance on volatile overseas supplies and create scores of new jobs.
"Given this administration’s belligerent rhetoric against the oil industry, it’s going to be very easy for Romney to pin the blame on Obama," Stephen Schork, president of Schork Group Inc., a consulting firm in Villanova, Pa., told Bloomberg News."The White House will be on the defensive. It makes an SPR release likely sooner rather than later."
Gasoline for September delivery advanced 7.68 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $3.1548 a gallon yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest level since April 30, the financial news service said.
Futures fell today to 2.87 cents, or 0.9 percent, to settle at $3.1261.
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