TUPELO • The attack on an oil refinery in Saudi Arabia over the weekend is sending gas price higher, and it didn’t take long for that impact to be felt in Northeast Mississippi.

Monday morning, a gallon at the Dodge’s store on West Main Street in Tupelo was at $2.03. By the early afternoon, the price had gone up to $2.17.

“That didn’t take long, did it?” said Steven Akers, who had filled up shortly before heading into Walmart. “But I guess there’s not much we can do about it.”

In fact, prices are expected to rise 10 to 25 cents a gallon in the short term, as the oil will affect gas refinery output down the line. Saudi Arabia supplies about 5 percent of the world’s crude oil. U.S. officials said the attacker used multiple cruise missiles and drone aircraft to inflict damage {span}at the kingdom’s crucial Abqaiq oil processing plant and a key oil field.

The U.S. benchmark crude oil price closed Monday at $61.90 a barrel, up $7.05, or nearly 13 percent, in response to the attacks. Wholesale gasoline prices jumped about 15 cents a gallon, said Tom Kloza, chief global analyst for the Oil Price Information Service.

Tommy Brooks, a Texaco/Chevron distributor since 1966, said even he is at the mercy of the oil companies when it comes to gasoline prices.

“You never know what those prices are going to be because there are so many factors going into that price,” he said. “If they go up 10 cents, we’re going to have to go up 10 cents … we’re at their mercy, too.”

Brooks distributes to some 50 stores in the region, and he’s as price-sensitive as anyone.

“Sometimes I think the oil companies take advantage of a situation like this and take those prices higher – but there’s really nothing we can do. We’re the middle man, stuck in the middle and getting the calls.”

And higher prices don’t help gas station owners at all. After credit card fees and other operating costs, net profit for gasoline sales averages 3 cents a gallon, according the National Association of Convenience Stores, regardless of the price at the pump.

AAA said the current average price for a gallon of gas nationwide $2.56. That’s still down from $2.64 a month ago and $2.85 a year ago.

Throughout Mississippi, gas prices Monday morning averaged $2.18 a gallon.

Depending on how quickly Saudi authorities can get production back on track, the impact on consumers should be short-lived, experts say, as prices typically peak during the summer and head lower as refineries prepare for the “winter blend” of fuel.

And now that the U.S. is the world’s largest oil producer at some 12.4 million gallons a day, American consumers are a little less dependent on Saudi oil than they once were.

Jeanette Casselano, a spokesperson for AAA, said in the first half of this year, the United States imported less than half the amount of barrels each day from Saudi Arabia than it did at the same time two years ago.

Also, President Trump said he’s ready to release oil from the nation’s Strategic Oil Reserve to further temper any large price hikes.

However, if there are more attacks on Saudi oil facilities, and if it decides to strike back on suspected culprit Iran, another oil-producing country, oil and gas prices could skyrocket.