NEW YORK --- Oil prices continued to rise a third straight day on Thursday, prompted by unrest in the Middle East. Light sweet crude for August delivery climbed 29 cents a barrel to $75.24 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the Associated Press reported. Worries about potential supply disruption are understandable. Iran has been referred back to the U.N. Security Council because of its nuclear program and could face sanctions. At the same time, fighting between Israel and Lebanon – neither of which is a big oil producer – raises the specter of oil-producing nations in the region becoming involved in the conflict. Tensions in Iraq, North Korea, India and Nigeria have also contributed to traders’ worries. And all this comes during hurricane season in the U.S. Gulf Coast. The Auto Club (AAA) reported this week that gasoline prices nationwide reached their highest level this year – an average of $2.96 for a gallon of self-serve. More pain at the pump is expected next month when gasoline prices reflect the spike in crude oil prices. According to ABC News, the rule of thumb is that every dollar increase in a barrel of crude means about a nickel-a-gallon increase at the pump. Thursday's trading suggested that gasoline prices could be going up a dime a gallon, an ABC News correspondent reported.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials