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Gasoline prices likely to set record highs this year

The price of gasoline jumped 23 cents Wednesday. Cars lined up at Admiral in Cedar Springs Wednesday, anticipating the jump from $3.36 per gallon for unleaded, to $3.59. Post photos by J. Reed.

Drivers might want to put aside a little extra money for driving expenses this year. That’s because experts are predicting we’ll see record high gas prices again in 2012.
“Average gasoline prices are moving up as we enter the New Year, a trend that has held since 2008,” said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. “The biggest problem with that trend holding true this year is that we’re starting 2012 about 20 cents per gallon higher than 2011, breaking yet another high price record and setting up an ugly year for motorists,” DeHaan said.
What does that mean?
“As 2011 has come to a close, that’s cause for concern,” says Gregg Laskoski, Senior Petroleum Analyst for GasBuddy.com. “Why? For the past seven years, the average price movement from the beginning of the year to the peak price posted during the year has been $0.93 cents per gallon, and as high as $1.31/gallon. Last year was actually a good snapshot of what we’ve seen for the past seven years. 2010 ended with the national average at $3.05 and we saw the annual spring 2011 climb push the national average 91 cents higher to its peak level as early as May 11, when it reached $3.96 per gallon,” Laskoski explained.
“In three of the last seven years, the spread between the yearly starting price and the peak exceeded $1 per gallon and only once in the past seven years was the spread below 82 cents per gallon. While past performance is no indication of future prices, if the national average doesn’t move closer toward orunder $3 per gallon by the year’s end, we could be paying over $4/gal next spring,” said DeHaan.

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