Gas prices expected to see big jumps by spring

January 26, 2011

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

As gas pump prices have already risen by almost 10 percent since the end of November, the worst isn’t over, analysts said last week.

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel hovered around $3.15 last week, the highest in almost two years. While prices may remain steady through February and into March, drivers will likely see $3.25, $3.75 or $4 averages across the country.

The predictions are being attributed to crude oil spikes, which caused per-barrel tallies of more than $90 for the first time since 2008. Even winter trends—which traditionally result in cheaper gas—haven’t kept pump prices down.

As of this report, crude oil prices were about $98 per barrel.

According to AAA stats, last week’s averages are 12 cents more than gas prices a month ago and almost 40 cents higher than what drivers paid in January 2010. At the end of business Friday, Jan. 21, the highest local per-gallon price was $3.19, matching averages seen New Year’s Eve weekend. As of Sunday, Jan. 23, the average 84-hour average was between $2.84 and $3.

Illinois remains among states with the most expensive gasoline. Some of  the cheapest are Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

When prices increase by as little a penny, it costs American drivers about $4 million.

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