Rising Twin Cities gas prices: Iran to blame?

The average gas price in the Twin Cities as of Monday was $3.27 per-gallon -- 19 cents more than a year ago and 8 cents more than just a week ago.

Who or what's to blame for this new-found pain at the pump?

Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for gasbuddy.com, says we should pin the blame on a country that George W. Bush once classified as a member of the "axis of evil."

In a press release, DeHaan blamed the price increase on Iran's threat to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, which is the only sea passage to the open ocean for large areas of the petroleum-exporting Persian Gulf.

DeHaan writes:

Think back to the days following the start of the crisis in Libya -- an event that also rattled energy markets. We're seeing similar emotions play out even though there hasn't yet been a disruption to supply. I would blame emotion for the recent uptick in gasoline prices, nothing else.

On Sunday, an Iranian newspaper cited a senior commander of the Revolutionary Guard Corps as saying Iran's leadership has decided to prevent shipping through the strait if Iran's "enemies block the export of our oil." The U.S. and European Union have reportedly been considering tightening economic sanctions against Iran in response to the country's refusal to abandon a suspected nuclear weapons program.

But analysts have expressed skepticism about Iran's threat, pointing out that Iran would have a lot to lose by blocking the strategically vital Strait.

In any event, lest you think geopolitics doesn't impact your world, look no further than the recently rising price at the pump.

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