Paul Sakuma, AP
As high as gas prices currently are, they could double in early 2013, to $8 a gallon across the nation.

Gas prices could get as high as $8 a gallon if Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz to oil tanker traffic, an energy consulting firm told USA Today.

Crude oil prices could get as high as $240 a barrel in the first fiscal quarter of next year, Sara Johnson, senior research director of global economics at IHS Global Insight, told USA Today. In the U.S., crude oil for West Texas Intermediate closed just over $107 a barrel on Wednesday. Crude oil would probably climb to around $160 a barrel in the second quarter, and then drop down to $120.

IHS predicted that such a jump in gas prices might result in lines at the pump, and could slow economic growth across the globe next year, according to USA Today. The global economy has been forecast to grow at a rate of 3.6 percent, but the rise in oil prices could make that number shrink to 2.6 percent.

Even though closing the strait might not be in Iran's best interest, Iran may close it in reaction to pressure from the U.S. to discontinue its nuclear weapons development, Farid Abolfathi, senior director of the IHS Risk Center, told USA Today.

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