Uh-oh…you’ve probably noticed that gas prices are once again creeping higher, just in time for the driving season. As a motorist, it might have you cringing; but as an exchange traded fund (ETF) investor, it might have you looking for an opening.

Gas has already crept up 5 cents a gallon, and it could go as high as $3 a gallon if those in the know are correct. Oil prices have also increased, to $82 on optimism about the economy, new tensions in oil-producing Nigeria and reports that China is building up its strategic reserves, reports Clifford Krauss for The New York Times. [Energy ETFs: Oil Industry Expands Its Horizons.]

The Nigerian rebel group have resumed attacks on oil production operations, which has diminished Nigerian production by 85,000 barrels a day, or more than 4% of normal output. China is planning on amassing reserves while prices are low, increasing the expectations that China may import as much as 15% more oil this year.

Global crude oil inventories are slowly dwindling, but domestic inventories remain above the five-year average for this time of year. It is expected that OPEC won’t be altering its supplies later this month. [How to Use HOLDRS to Invest in Oil.]

How to play these rising prices? You have an array of options with oil ETFs.

For more information on oil, visit our oil category.

  • United States Oil (NYSEArca: USO): Holds futures contracts; watch out for contango, though, because this fund could get hit on the roll. If it’s present, then investigate United States 12-Month Oil (NYSEArca: USL), which is less impacted by the situation.

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