Following the March 5 death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, economists are left wondering what that will mean for the fate of the oil markets.

Last night on NewsCenter5, Carlos Rufin, associate professor of Strategy & International Business at Sawyer Business School, said: “The main worry of the markets is that there is political uncertainty in Venezuela that could lead to a disruption in oil supplies throughout the rest of the world.”

Rufin noted that although Chavez was critical of the United States, the country was also his leading customer.

So what does that mean for Americans?

NewsCenter5 reported that as Venezuela remains the second-biggest oil producer in the world, sudden instability within the nation would likely lead to an increase in the price of gasoline and home heating oil.

According to the news report, crude oil futures have only rose 22 cents a barrel since the news of Chavez’s death. Experts do not expect global markets to react too dramatically, at least not until Venezuela finds a new leader to step in Chavez’s place.