Initial concern over Iraq's oil supply, in light of the ongoing fighting there, has subsided somewhat.

 

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That recent, first pump price spike may have been the worst of it. When the Iraqi insurgency first exploded, oil speculators immediately jumped in and drove prices higher by $2 and change.

So what lies ahead in this situation, in a very volatile part of the world? When you talk about the future of the world's third-largest oil producer, you might as well be in "crystal ball land." After all, fears of a supply disruption did increase crude and pump prices 9 or 10 cents per gallon.

Patrick DeHaan, an analyst with GasBuddy.com, said that may have been the worst of the increases, at least for now. He cautions drivers to stay abreast of new developments overseas.

"Be listening carefully for oil export news," DeHaan said. "If there is some disruption, motorists should probably be expecting to pay higher prices at the pump."

It may come down to a matter of geography. The Sunni insurgency has taken over territory largely in northern Iraq -- as one observer put it, the fighters "have gained mostly sand." Iraq's main oil production and shipping is in southern Iraq, which is still firmly under Shiite control.

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