Gasoline Soars Months Before Driving Season

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Gasoline prices have hit another all-time high, selling at an average of more than $3.22 per gallon nationwide, as they follow crude oil prices upward. And we're still months away from the summer driving season, which could push prices even higher.


The Energy Department reports gas prices at all-time highs. Gasoline is selling at an average of more than $3.22 per gallon nationwide. And we are still months away from the summer driving season when prices frequently go up. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

SCOTT HORSLEY: Gasoline prices have been on a tear, jumping more than a quarter a gallon in the last four weeks to shatter the old record set last May. Jeff Sundstrom of AAA says there's a simple explanation for the high price at the pump. The crude oil used to make gasoline is selling for well over $100 a barrel.

Mr. JEFF SUNDSTROM (AAA): A year ago price of crude was between $60 and $65 per barrel. We're not quite double that now, but certainly the cost of oil has gone into the stratosphere and it's dragging gasoline prices along with it.

HORSLEY: OPEC's president warned that oil prices could stay in triple digit territory for the rest of the year, although other forecasters are skeptical. Sundstrom says the sky-high gas prices are especially alarming at this time of year, when demand for gas is well below its mid-summer peak.

Mr. SUNDSTROM: Our best advice to consumers at this time is to prepare for all-time record high prices between now and the start of the summer driving season and do what you can to conserve.

HORSLEY: A rare bit of positive economic news helped push oil prices to a new high yesterday. Sundstrom says he hates to think it will take a recession to bring oil prices down, but that is one possible outcome.

Scott Horsley, NPR News.

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