Gas prices may put a strain on U.S. credit cards

In December, American consumers demonstrated a renewed willingness to swipe their credit cards, increasing both the total volume of their transactions as well as profits for lenders.

However, in January the main recipients of these added swipes may be gas stations, as the national average continued to inch upward, hitting $3.11 per gallon.

This figure was nearly 50 cents higher than the average observed at this time last year, and up 5.1 cents from December. Many energy analysts expected an increase following the recent unrest in the Middle East.

Despite the fact that neither Egypt or Tunisa control much of the world’s oil supply, there was some speculation that the uprising in the former could affect access to the Suez Canal, The Sacramento Bee reports. However, the restoration of calm to Egypt drove down crude oil at the beginning of this week, as prices fell 30 cents on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Many experts expect gas prices to rise even higher this year and say they could reach up to $4 a gallon. As a result, many consumers could save extra money by taking advantage of offers from credit card lenders, some of which offer up to 2 percent cash back on expenditures at the pump.

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