CNNMoney reports, "Gasoline now costs an average of $3.15 a gallon, seven cents shy of the record set last May, according to AAA." With crude oil prices hitting a record high this week, price increases may not end anytime soon. "Within a few weeks, gas could cost $3.50 a gallon and, by spring, the price could hit $4 in some locations, said Peter Beutel, an oil analyst at the consultancy Cameron Hanover."
According to Florida's Palm Beach Post, "AAA is not offering as dire a forecast. The auto group predicts a spring peak of $3.75." The Detroit News adds, "With the run-up in prices in recent years, economists say energy's share of disposable income is slowly creeping up again. In December, that figure reached 6.1 percent, the highest level since 1985." An increase of just 2 percentage points in the amount Americans pay for gasoline and heating oil amounts to "$200 billion...a little less than half what Americans spend each year on new cars and automobile parts" combined.
AAA spokesman Geoff Sunsdstrom told the Detroit News, "We've gone from a worrying situation for gasoline to one that is quite alarming." Kicking Tires notes, "People tend to drive less during the winter, which may be one reason why gas prices remained relatively calm" this season, but "experts warn of a $3.50 to $3.75 national average during the height of the summer driving season."