Consumers could pay up to $4.25 a gallon.
It's becoming a nightmare for many motorists who are passing by gasoline station after station, hoping to find the cheapest price. And to top that off, AAA Mid Atlantic spokeswoman Christine Delise says prices are expected to hit the $4 mark pretty soon. "But we are hopeful that we will see the same scenario that we saw last year. May 12th, they peaked at $4 a gallon last year, and then they started their steady decline, and then a couple of days before Christmas they were below $3 a gallon."
February is the earliest gas prices have ever topped $3.50 per gallon nationally. Prices typically rise ahead of the summer driving season, but this year has been anything but typical. The national average retail price for regular grade gasoline climbed to $3.65 per gallon this week, 12 cents higher than a week ago, 27 cents higher than month ago prices and 42 cents higher than a year ago. Gas prices are up 37 cents since the beginning of the year and are within 49 cents of the all-time record high ($4.11 gal) set in July 2008.
“Analysts anticipate the Mid-Atlantic region will be a hot spot for gasoline prices in the coming weeks and months, a ‘crude awakening’ for motorists who continue to endure pain at the pump,” said Delise. “The next 60 days will prove extremely volatile for gas prices in the region, following the idling of two Philadelphia area refineries in recent weeks and the threat of another closure this summer. Prices at the pump are likely headed to $4.00 per gallon in the coming weeks, which does not bode well for motorists who have already had to deal with two months of record setting gas prices to start the year.”
In Maryland the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.67.