BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Five dollars a gallon for gas? Analysts say it could happen this year.

Monique Griego has more on why gas prices could soon explode.

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Just this weekend, the president signed new sanctions against the country of Iran. Now, Iran is firing back with a threat that could send gas prices higher than ever.

Prices at the pump already have drivers in pain.

“I can barely afford it now,” said one driver.

“Three dollars a gallon…I mean, five dollars gets you what, a gallon and a half?” said another.

But if Iran follows through on a threat to shut down one of the world’s most important oil routes, analysts say prices here could skyrocket by summer.

“If it gets to $5, that would be hurting the pockets very bad,” said Paul Rozanski, Severna Park.

Threats of five dollars a gallon has Rozanski reconsidering his ride.

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“I just like the SUV because of the wintertime, but definitely in the summertime, get another car. Get a Prius or something,” he said.

In just the past week, gas prices have gone up nearly seven cents and there is no sign of them coming down any time soon.

According to AAA, the average for a gallon of regular is $3.25, compared to $3.07 this time last year.

“Iran’s saber-rattling. I think that could have an impact,” said Pete Horrigan.

Horrigan, who’s with the Mid-Atlantic Petroleum Distributors’ Association, says he won’t go as far as five dollars a gallon, but does expect prices to go up.

“We certainly have enough issues going on in the world and in this country that it could certainly be higher,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate in this country because in European countries, they’ve been paying a lot more than that for a long time.”

Many drivers are now hoping that good fortune holds out.

The U.S. penalties against Iran don’t take effect for six months and even then, the president can waive them for national security reasons.

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The European Union is also considering new oil sanctions against Iran.