CHICAGO (WBBM) — The crisis in Japan and the ongoing unrest in the Middle East are weighing on the oil market and threatening to further drive up gasoline prices.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger reports, initially, the Japanese disaster brought down oil and gas prices as the huge oil-importing economy in Japan ground to a halt.

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LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger reports

But Phil Flynn of PFGBEST in Chicago says the fallout from the nuclear disaster could drive up prices in the long run.

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“Whether you’re pro-nuclear power or anti-nuclear power, the one thing we do know is that if we don’t use as much nuclear power, we’re going to use more oil,” Flynn said.

Add to that the growing turmoil in Bahrain rippling through the oil-producing region, and there is a threat of prices soaring at the gas pump.

“Five dollars a gallon, again, is the worst case scenario,” Flynn said. “Four dollars is more likely.”

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Right now, shows the average price for a gallon of gas in Chicago at $3.73, with several stations charging more than $4.