Exxon executive says $5 per gallon unlikely in near future

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Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson said American drivers shouldn’t worry about $5-per-gallon gas.

During an interview on The Today Show, Tillerson told host Matt Lauer that the national average is unlikely to reach the $5-gallon mark based on basic supply and demand fundamentals. Some analysts have predicted in recent weeks that gasoline could top $5 nationally as tensions rise with Iran, causing higher crude oil prices.

However, he said there are unknown factors that could drive up cost of gas per gallon in the coming summer months.

“Again, the unknown in here is the market’s view of the political risk,” he said. “If the rhetoric gets more heated, if a problem flares up anywhere else in the world, then certainly it could drive these prices up further.”

Gasoline prices have been steadily rising since the New Year. The national average remained the same overnight at $3.75 overnight, but it’s risen 28 cents over the past month. Most analysts have pointed the blame for higher prices at the pump on rising tensions with Iran and three northeast refineries closing that have sparked higher crude oil prices.

Tom Kloza, the chief analyst for Oil Price Information Service, said emerging markets have also caused global crude oil prices to rise.

“To a great extent, you can blame the tens of millions of people who have moved from third world poverty into something approaching the middle class,” he said. “Those folks need fuel for transportation, agriculture and industry.”