gas station in the rain

Might want to buy some stock in whatever company you think makes the most fuel-efficient cars.

The price of U.S. gasoline could hit the $6 mark if international sanctions are imposed on Iran and shut down the Strait of Hormuz, through which much of the world's oil is shipped, the Chicago Tribune reports, citing remarks made by IHS chief economist Nariman Behravesh at an event sponsored by the National Automobile Dealers Association and IHS.

Sudan, Syria and Yemen are among countries where there have been oil-supply disruptions, driving up the price of gas to its current levels. And, with 20 percent of the world's oil coming from the Persian Gulf and fears of Iran supply disruption, there's about a 20 percent chance gas prices will approach the $6 a gallon mark, and that could happen by early next year. According to Behravesh, such a jump could cause alt-fuel vehicle sales to spike and, with General Motors unlikely to be able to ramp up production of its Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in vehicle, Nissan Leaf battery-electric sales may surge.

Gas prices are a subject that elicit about as many opinions as presidential prospects. Earlier this month, USA Today quoted Patrick DeHaan, senior analyst for GasBuddy, saying that gas prices may have peaked at about $3.92 a gallon and would drop to $3.70 by the end of the month. U.S. drivers had been hoping that 2011 would've been the worst year for gas prices for a while, as average prices surged about 27 percent to more than $3.50 a gallon and hit the $4 mark last May.

This year, U.S. gas prices have jumped almost 60 cents a gallon to about $3.90 a gallon, according to AAA, and consumers are responding. Last month marked the third-consecutive monthly record when it came to fuel economy figures for new cars, whose gas mileage averaged 24.1 miles per gallon, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). As a result, both the Volt and the Toyota Prius hybrid had record monthly U.S. sales.