About 20 percent of the crude oil produced in the world is shipped through the Strait of Hormuz, and Iran has threatened to shut down shipping traffic through the Strait.
Because of the embargo against the nation due to nuclear weapons violations, the U.S. has pressured large oil importers such as Japan to act to isolate Iran by cutting their imports. Japan apparently has agreed to cut its Iranian crude imports by 20 percent. But as the world’s third largest oil importer, Japan indeed will have to get its oil somewhere other than Iran -- which will put more pressure on current production.
3. Refiners raising prices
Many large refineries are owned by public companies that do not have much appetite for posting ongoing losses. To avoid losses, refiners will have to increase gasoline prices
4. Other geopolitical risks
Problems in Nigeria the 14th largest producer of oil in the world, Venezuela the world’s 11th largest producer of crude and across Africa in Bahrain, Libya, Iraq, Nigeria and Yemen could cause rises in gas prices.
5. The EU may save itself
Deepening financial and economic trouble in Europe would drop demand for oil there. However, if leaders in the region can settle on mechanisms to protect nations with financial problems from default, national budgets will not be cut to extraordinarily low levels -- levels that would otherwise kill both consumer demand and business demand for oil.
6. U.S. economic recovery
Demand for oil-based products across the entire economy will pick up with any recovery.
In the U.S., summer vacation driving has historically boosted demand for gasoline.
8. Supply risk
In December 2011, OPEC members produced nearly 31 million barrels a day, cutting the cartel’s spare capacity capability from 3.18 million barrels per day to 2.85 million.