Analysts: Rising Gas Prices Could Hurt Economy

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Energy analysts say the price of gasoline could hit $4 a gallon again very soon.

Gas prices hit a five-month high last week and have been rising steadily in the last few weeks. The national average price of a gallon of regular unleaded stands at around $3.50.

Some analysts believe it could hit $4 a gallon by Memorial Day and it reach a much higher price in some areas across the country.

The key factor is whether or not there's a war in the Middle East. Some analysts are concerned about the affect on the economy, believing that rising gas prices could undermine consumer spending and economic growth.

"These price increases come at a difficult time for the economy," energy consultant Cameron Hanover said in a report.

"Jobs are just starting to come back and housing is starting to breathe its first breaths of life in years, and gasoline prices are back at it, ready to scuttle economic recovery through a pervasive tax that catches everyone," he wrote.

The oil market will be watching closely the latest inventory data when the American Petroleum Institute reports later Tuesday and the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration announces its weekly supply data Wednesday.

The price of oil was below $101 a barrel on Tuesday.

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