NPR logo Consumers Paying Highest Gas Prices Since Oct. '08

Economy

Consumers Paying Highest Gas Prices Since Oct. '08

Gas prices at a Chevron gas station March 9, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Gas prices at a Chevron gas station March 9, 2010 in San Francisco, California.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

SUV owners and those who drive a lot for work need to prepare themselves for more pain at the gas pump. Retail prices Thursday hit the highest level since just before the 2008 election and are expected to surge above $3 before long. (They're already there in parts of California.)

The Associated Press reports:

Motorists are paying the highest prices for gas since October
2008. Retail gasoline prices rose on Thursday on an expected
increase in demand and as more expensive spring and summer blends
of gasoline make their way to the pumps.

The nationwide average hit $2.799 per gallon, a penny higher
than Wednesday, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price
Information Service.

Prices have now jumped 18.9 cents in the past month and are 87.9
cents higher than year-ago levels. Back on Oct. 23, 2008 prices
averaged $2.8215 per gallon.

The Energy Department and many industry experts expect prices to
top $3 this spring.

Gasoline prices tend to move higher in the spring as more
drivers hit the road and refiners shut down units for maintenance,
as they prepare to make more expensive summer blends of gasoline
with fewer smog-causing emissions.

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