Congress might have delayed automatic spending cuts and stopped some tax increases, but the fiscal cliff deal passed this week might drive up gas prices in the New Year.

Fuel costs have increased by about 8 cents this week in York County -- a change that was likely attributed to politics, an analyst said.

The uncertainty of a deal created a lot of nervousness in financial markets, said Gregg Laskoski, senior analyst with

"Anytime there's nervousness in financial markets, it's going to have an impact on crude oil," he said.

On Wednesday, the website showed gas prices in York County ranged from $3.39 to $3.49.

Those numbers line up with AAA's Fuel Gauge Report, which shows the average price for gasoline in York County this week is $3.48, up from $3.36 a week ago.

Gas prices have fallen from $3.56 a month ago, but they're 10 cents above the $3.38 price tag from the same week a year ago and 8 cents more than the local price two days ago.

After prices dropped for 28 consecutive days, the national average increased for four days in a row, Avery Ash, AAA's manager of federal relations, said in a report.

"Whether gas prices continue to rise or again turn lower will be impacted by action -- or

inaction -- in Washington surrounding the looming fiscal cliff," he said.


Positive for economy: Lawmakers striking a deal will likely be viewed as a positive for the U.S. economy. Crude oil and gas prices could climb if demand is expected to increase, analysts said.

If a deal had not been reached, prices could have dropped as demand would have been expected to shrink.

There is a possibility prices could still drop, according to Bob Astor, wholesale fuels business manager for Shipley Fuels.

"Our stock of crude oil is very good. Because our supply is in very good shape, it could mean prices will be stable or even decrease during the beginning of the year," he said.

Since Astor began tracking fuel prices in 2006, prices on Jan. 1 have varied wildly -- from $3.19 in 2008 to $1.65 in 2009 and back up to $2.69 in 2010.

"Gasoline is a worldwide commodity. There are events that take place outside of control on a global scene that can push up prices overnight, such as weather events and geopolitical events. Fiscal cliff aside, you can only predict so much," he said.

-- Average retail prices per gallon of regular gasoline:

-- Jan. 1, 2006: $2.35

-- Jan. 1, 2007: $2.39

-- Jan. 1, 2008: $3.19

-- Jan. 1, 2009: $1.65

-- Jan. 1, 2010: $2.69

-- Jan. 1, 2011: $3.16

-- Jan. 1, 2012: $3.45

-- Jan. 1, 2013: $3.39

Source: Shipley Fuels

-- Candy Woodall can also be reached at cwoo