Generally, the price of Atlanta gasoline slides down through the winter, reaching a seasonal low in late February before slowly climbing toward a peak around Memorial Day.
If the crisis brought on by the killing of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. airstrike last week eases, and if there is no impact on oil supplies, then motorists here should see that pattern again, DeHaan said. "I think the market will be sensitive to any exchange of words," he said, "but, if there is nothing else, I think it will go back to the status quo. Right now, it's more of a wait and see."
While the importance of oil from the Middle East has ebbed in the past decades, it remains a crucial energy source for the world market, with much of the oil shipped through the Strait of Hormuz.
Any disruptions there would affect the U.S., even though most of this country’s oil is now domestically produced.
Politically, Iran's leadership is under pressure to respond to the killing of Soleimani, according to energy economist James Williams, president of Arkansas-based WTRG Economics. "The most obvious (response) is an attack on vessels in the Strait of Hormuz," he said. "However, an overt attempt to close the strait would certainly be met by overwhelming force by the U.S. and its allies."
Much of the oil on those vessels is from U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, which produces about 9.9 million barrels of crude each day – more than 10% of the world's total, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Iran’s own oil shipments have been dramatically constrained by U.S.-led sanctions.
Still, the country's leaders could retaliate in ways that don't cut oil supplies, like a cyberattack, Williams said in an email. "From our point of view, this involves lower risk to Iran as it would be far less likely to result in a military conflict."
Metro Atlanta gas prices, gallon of regular
Week ago: $2.43
One year ago: $2.06
Metro Atlanta gas prices, Monday
Highest: 3.34 a gallon, Shell (Acworth)
Lowest: $2.19 a gallon, Chevron (Douglasville)
Average: $2.46 a gallon
State gas prices, per gallon
Lowest: $2.22 (Oklahoma)
Highest: $3.65 (Hawaii)
Source: Gas Buddy