LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — The crisis in Libya is reaching Southern California as oil prices continue to push higher.

KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz Reports

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery gained 83 cents Monday at $105.25 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price almost hit $107 per barrel earlier in electronic trading, the highest since Sept. 26, 2008.

In London, Brent crude added 64 cents at $116.61 per barrel.

The rise in oil is driving gasoline prices to levels that weren’t expected for at least another month. Pump prices have jumped an average of 39 cents per gallon since the Libyan uprising began in mid-February. The national average hit $3.509 per gallon overnight, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. The average in Southern California is now $3.89.

Libya, which sits on the largest oil reserves in Africa, has been engulfed in a four-week rebellion as militants try to oust Moammar Gadhafi after 41 years in power. Officials in the country say the country’s oil fields continue to operate, but experts say that the Libya’s daily shipments of more than 1 million barrels will likely be cut off for some time to come.

The fighting could last for weeks, or months, and international oil companies have pulled their workers to safer locations. With no clear leader in charge of the country, analysts say the world cannot depend on Libya’s exports. Saudi Arabia has increased production to make up for the loss of Libyan crude, which goes mainly to Europe, but that puts a tighter squeeze oil supplies as the global economy recovers and consumption rises.

The Energy Information Administration estimates OPEC can crank up production by another four to five million barrels per day. An extended shut down of Libya’s exports would slice that capacity by about 20 percent.

In other Nymex trading on Monday for April contracts, heating oil picked up a penny at $3.0953 per gallon, while gasoline futures lost a penny at $3.0391 per gallon. Natural gas rose 6 cents to $3.867 per 1,000 cubic feet.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (15)
  1. Dee says:

    The crisis in Libya would not single out California and cause only California to
    rise their gas prices. It is not a demand issue or any shortage of gas so the
    only factor left to consider is greed.

    1. Duh! says:

      Dee – get those lawyers that sued Taco Bell claiming their beef was not beef to file a lawsuit that says the “for profit” oil companies are making a profit on making gasoline. Then maybe they will have a sale like Taco Bell is having.

  2. Lenny says:

    Keep it coming.
    Less cars, less pollution and my stocks rise.

  3. bruce says:

    The hike in prices mean we pay more for other things not just gas. The airlines have now raised their prices along with grocery stores as they are getting charged a gas surcharge and are marking up groceries to get that money back. By memorial day I hear $5 gallon so that means less travel. This goes all the away across the board so tighten up now so you are not hurting later on.

  4. lenny says:

    Everyone complains about gas prices but illegals are costing us millions each day in taxpayer money. Let’s nail down one problem before we jump to another. Since illegals and anchor babies are the same, I say we deport and take citizenship away from any anchor baby currently here as their parents were here illegaly to begin with so their citizenship should not be recognized!

    1. So what!! says:

      So when are u leaving!!!!!

      1. gary says:

        Great comment lenny. If you think like I do you will be leaving when the government ok’s us to go to the border and start picking these roaches off one by one. Then we can come home and live in peace!

    2. Richard Castillo says:

      oh yes, get rid of the “Illegals” and life will be just grand huh. Not to mention all the Legals who are just dying to pick up the slack the illegals pick up for pennies on the dollar. I would like to see how fast you cry when your kid has to go pick strawberries or clean toilets for less than minimun wage with no benefits.

      This country thrives because of the invisible labor the “illegals” do with a smile. PLEASE……. Worry about getting the legal parasites off welfare and then we have money to play with…..

  5. bdj says:

    Lets assume that evething in Libya settles down real soon, and they resume their normal oil production. What are the chances that Gasolene prices will drop down to what they were before the crisis? Probably slim and none, (and Slim is out of town).

    1. donnyV says:

      I wish illegals would be out of town as well!

  6. bdj says:

    Why or those who are talking about illegal aliens bringing it up in this discussion. It has nomore barring on the Libyian crisis then a winter frost in the stat of Florida.

    1. Richard Castillo says:

      and the Libyans have no eeffect on what we pay for our oil. They are only the latest Patsey to be using as an ecuse for the big oil companies to raise the price and have another record year of profits….come on people, open your eyes

  7. rescued sammie says:

    lets see, “no new drilling after the Deep Water Horizipn blow out, Constant unrest in the middle east” and this is a surprise because no one saw it coming? I did, last year, and I am not an elected offical or ecomonic stratagist.
    No surprises here.

  8. JB says:

    This totally stinks!!! Another country is at war and we have to pay more for gas because of it.

    1. Richard Castillo says:

      but yet tho it is okay for them to pay for our luxury lifestyle. You don’t see that, so it must be okay…..

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