Gas Prices on the Rise, Expected to Top $4 Per Gallon This Spring

Be prepared to pay $4 a gallon or more for gasoline this spring, analysts are saying.

“Motorists who drive a SUV may want to consider calling their banking institution and obtain a credit-limit increase so they can afford this summer’s fuel expenses,” Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, told the LA Times.

This week’s national average, per GasBuddy, is $3.38 per gallon, an increase of more than 6 cents from last week.

In the continental United States, Utah has the lowest average gas prices at $2.92 a gallon while California has the highest at $3.70 a gallon.

In 2012, analysts are estimating that national gas prices will average over $4.00 per gallon and could go as high as $5 a gallon in some places, especially if the threat of disruption to global supply continues.

“Think back to the days following the start of the crisis in Libya — an event that also rattled energy markets. We’re seeing similar emotions play out even though there hasn’t yet been a disruption to supply,” DeHaan said in a news release, referring to Iran’s current threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, which is a vital waterway for global oil shipments. “I would blame emotion for the recent uptick in gasoline prices, nothing else.”

While the current 2012 outlook for gas prices isn’t the most comforting news, Mr. DeHaan pointed out that things really could be worse.

“We can look to Europe at their $6-$9/gallon gasoline and be happy that we’re still not paying as much as some countries,” he said.

In the year 2011, gas prices averaged over $3.50 a gallon nationwide, 72 centers a gallon higher than in 2010.

What changes in your lifestyle have you been forced to make due to rising gas prices?

via LA Times