A strike on Syria would at least temporarily boost oil prices on fears of violence spreading across the Middle East. But production problems elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa are keeping energy markets on edge.
A joint US-Israel missile test Tuesday boosted oil prices and renewed worries that a spread of conflict in the Middle East could block oil supplies. If oil prices continue to rise, would the US tap emergency oil supplies to avoid damaging a fragile economic recovery?
The possibility of a military strike on Syria has investors worried an attack could spread trouble across the Middle East and cut off oil supplies. But, for the first time in 50 years, the US is not as worried about disruptions to the oil markets, resulting from a possible military strike on Syria, as domestic production is at a 20-year high.
A possible military strike on Syria pushed up gasoline prices Thursday by 1.8 cents a gallon, the biggest one-day jump in a month. But they're still 27 cents below the Labor Day price last year and prospects of a delay in a military strike on Syria may keep them from rising much during the big driving holiday.
Gas prices fell slightly from a week ago, following a general downward trend for gas prices over the past few months. That's good news for motorists gearing up for Labor Day travel in the coming weeks, but a host of variables could reverse the trend.
Clashes in Egypt have added to growing anxiety over supply disruptions in the Middle East, driving oil prices upward for five days straight. A stronger supply of North American oil should help protect from long-term effects of Egypt unrest, analysts said.