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Frank A. Douglass Insurance Agency

Gasoline and energy costs surge again

Consumers bludgeoned by soaring prices at the pump and heating costs are about to get socked again. Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine has sent energy commodities soaring. Brent oil is at $98 per barrel and gasoline futures are nearing $2.80. Once you add in transportation costs, profit margin, and taxes the final toll on your wallet should blow through recent averages. AAA Michigan shows the typical price in Houghton County as $3.44 per gallon, above the state benchmark of $3.37.

Russia is one of the world’s largest oil producers and as it becomes entangled in international conflicts, the threat of disruptions to supply rise, stressing prices on the global market. Both Europe and the United States have ruled out an energy component to potential sanctions, but if the skirmish turns into war that has the possibility of changing quickly. Home heating oil and natural gas have both been subject to wild price swings this year. Natural gas jumped from $3.75 to $5.50 per contract in the month of January alone, an appreciation of nearly 50 percent. The price has fallen again to around $4.50, showing extreme volatility.

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