Crisis in Japan affects gas prices

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - the tragedy in Japan is bringing the typically fast-paced culture there to a crawl. The country is on its knees, and so there's been a sharp decline in the demand for its oil.

And because Japan is one of the top three consumers of crude oil in the world, the sudden drop in its need means a drop in prices.

"The price of oil is dropping as speculators believe that disruption in demand in Japan will offset the supply disruption in Libya," says AAA's Brendan Byrnes.

Despite that, Byrnes says you won't see any decrease at the pump. Part of that is timing. The price of gas always goes up in warmer months.

"The summer blend of gasoline which is cleaner is also more costly to produce and therefore it adds ten to fifteen cents to each gallon of gasoline," he says.

But add ten to fifteen cents, and a lot of people will reach their breaking point.

"Four dollars – I'll be on CATS," says Charlotte resident Sean Towell.

And Byrnes says you should actually expect more than the seasonal increase.

"Prices will likely continue to go up because supply issues in the Middle East have not been resolved and we continue to see conflict and that will continue to cause uncertainly, which as we've seen, will push the price up," he says.