Tension with Iran and "uncertainty" in the region is adding a $20 or $30 premium to oil prices, pushing up gas prices for vehicle owners in the United States, President Barack Obama said.
"The key thing that is driving higher gas prices is actually the world's oil markets and uncertainty about what's going on in Iran and the Middle East, and that's adding a $20 or $30 premium to oil prices," Obama said in an interview with the American Automobile Association (AAA) published Friday.
Obama also said increasing demand for oil in China and India was driving prices.
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"As more and more people around the world see their standards of living rising, they purchase cars, they have demand for oil, that creates a greater demand worldwide and that raises the price," Obama told AAA.
Pump prices are hovering near record highs as markets worry about tensions in the Middle East, with Obama moving to clamp down on criticism of his administration on the issue in an election year.
Amid a four-state tour to defend his energy plans this week, Obama stressed that his administration has approved "dozens" of new oil and gas pipelines, but new drilling was insufficient to lower rising gas prices.
The United States this week pushed for a tough new set of sanctions on Iran aimed at pressing the state over its nuclear program, penalizing foreign financial institutions over transactions with Tehran's central bank which handles the country's oil sales, its key export.