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'Watching The Situation Closely': AAA Says Escalation Of Iran Tensions Could Affect Drivers At Gas Pump

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Gas prices have remained steady and manageable for many drivers for the past several months, but that could soon change depending on the evolution of rising tensions with the United States and Iran.

"AAA is watching the situation closely and unfortunately, at this point, it's too early to tell what the extent of the impact will be long-term," AAA spokesperson Jana Tidwell said.

Crude oil prices spiked 4% Friday after Iran's top military commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, was killed in an airstrike ordered by President Donald Trump.

AAA officials say an escalation of Middle East tensions could affect drivers at the pumps eventually, both nationally and internationally.

"Iranian crude oil makes up about 20% of the global supply, so if that supply is cut off for any reason, that is when we will see a significant increase in crude oil prices," Tidwell said.

While AAA says it's too soon to tell what, if any, ramifications the situation in the Middle East will have on drivers, they say the ripple effect would go far beyond just the gas pumps.

"When gas prices are low, consumers have extra disposable income -- they're willing to travel, they're willing to spend," Tidwell explained. "When gas prices are high, consumers feel it not only at the gas pump, but they feel it in terms of air fare, bus fare, train fare."

Drivers say a hike in gas prices is the last thing they want to see but some have creative ways of getting around it if the prices spike.

"It's manageable now. After the holidays, it's a little tough, but all in all, it's manageable," Mark Ostasiewski said. "I might have to go green if that's the case."

"You're gonna have to pay. Buy a Tesla," Anthony Moore said.

The stocks of energy companies rose on the news of the airstrike.

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