Gas Prices Continue to Rise

Gas prices are continuing to move upward with a gallon of regular at $3.38, up 8 cents from a week ago, the Energy Department's U.S. Energy Information Administration said today.

The weekly national average increased almost 30 cents from a year ago, and rose for the third consecutive week, adding to predictions that 2012 might be an uncomfortably expensive year for drivers across the country.

Last year was a record year for gas prices but 2012 is forecasted to surpass its annual average. The real annual average for a gallon of regular gas last year hit $3.56, up from $2.90 in 2010, according to the EIA. From its data that begins in 1919, the previous record high was in 1981, at $3.45.

Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy's senior petroleum analyst, forecasts that by Memorial Day, the national average will range between $3.86 and $4.13 per gallon. He also predicts that prices in 2012 will come close to or set new all-time highs. If prices soar this year, drivers could spend $200 to $300 more for gas in 2012.

Oil prices, after initially spiking this month because of concerns about Iran's threat to block exports from the Persian Gulf, fell today, the Associated Press reported. Analysts from Morgan Stanley reported oil producers can bypass the Strait of Hormuz, which Iran has threatened to block if countries interfere with its nuclear program.

At the end of the day, light, sweet crude for February delivery settled at $101.31 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 25 cents, or 0.3 percent, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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