Gas prices will hit lull ... but for how long?

After rising nearly every day for the past two months and climbing 67 percent so far this year, it looks like gasoline prices may be ready to take a break.

Gas prices were up for a 54th straight day Sunday, by 0.1 cents, to a new national average of $2.693 a gallon, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service.

The recent run-up exceeds anything that oil analysts say they have seen since the 1970s. But the streak should end today or Tuesday, Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst for OPIS, said Sunday.

The question now is whether prices, which usually peak in the U.S. around the July 4th holiday, will backslide into the fall or if geopolitical problems in Iran and Nigeria will drive oil — and gasoline prices — even higher after a short dip.

Typically, prices would decline about 10 percent — 25 or 30 cents a gallon — through the rest of the summer, but Kloza worries that violence associated with the disputed election results in Iran and ongoing pipeline attacks in Nigeria could affect oil production in those countries.

Iran produces about 4.2 million barrels of oil per day. It is the second-largest oil producer in the Oil Petroleum Exporting Countries, which pumps 40 percent of the world's oil.

Oil revenue accounts for about 80 percent of Iran's government budget.

Last year, tensions like those in Iran could have sent a jolt through energy markets as oil prices raced to $147 a barrel in July and gasoline prices peaked at $4.11 a gallon.

But the longest recession since World War II crushed demand for oil, easing worries that global tensions would suddenly send prices higher.

Gasoline prices bottomed at $1.61 a gallon on New Year's Eve at the height of the financial meltdown.

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