NEW YORK CITY -- Oil prices are surging after Iran announced it is cutting exports. CNN Money reported that oil prices rose Monday after Iran cut exports to Britain and France, raising worries that higher gas prices may follow.
On Feb. 19, Iran's oil ministry said that it would stop exporting oil to French and British companies, days after it threatened to cut supplies to some European Union countries in retaliation for sanctions put in place by the EU and United States.
U.S. crude for April delivery jumped about 2% to $105.28 a barrel. Brent crude, Europe's benchmark, rose about 0.5% to $120.37 a barrel.
Prices for Brent haven't been above $120 for more than a year, and that could prove worrisome for U.S. drivers since many U.S. refineries use imported oil to produce gas, especially on the East Coast.
Prices are already up nearly 9% from the start of the year. The national average price for a gallon of gas increased at least 13 consecutive days in February, according to motorist group AAA. | See AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge
Dan Dicker, oil trader and author of "Oil's Endless Bid, "forecast that the U.S. national price average of unleaded gasoline will probably hit $4 by this summer. The last time prices topped $4 was 2008. Dicker also said that there's a one in three chance that gas could reach $5 a gallon.
If gas prices do head to those lofty levels, it will not only increase the cost of route operations, but it could put a crimp in the economic recovery as consumers will likely cut down on spending if they have to pay more to fill up their cars.