Gas Prices At Four-Month High After 32 Days Of Hikes At The Pump - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Gas Prices At Four-Month High After 32 Days Of Hikes At The Pump

Posted: Updated:

NBCNEWS.COM - U.S. gas prices have hit a four-month high with 32 straight days of increases at the pump bringing misery to spring breakers and job hunters.

The Automobile Association of America said Monday that the national average for a gallon of regular is $3.73 -- 43 cents more than a month ago -- with prices topping $4 in California and Hawaii.

"It's become the perfect storm," AAA spokeswoman Nancy White said.

White and other experts blamed a series of factors for the uptick that started in mid-January:

-- Some refineries are switching over from winter to summer fuel, which is more expensive to produce.

-- A Hess refinery in New Jersey that supplies 7.5 percent of the Northeast's gas is closing.

-- Midwinter maintenance has led some refineries to go offline temporarily.

-- Demand for gas is up, fueled in part by the return of more people to working.

The price hikes come at a bad time, however, for Americans who are still out of work or facing smaller paychecks because of higher payroll taxes.

"Try the bad gas prices while trying to find a job," one unemployed driver vented on the Facebook page for GasBuddy.com, which tracks fuel prices around the nation.


Patrick DeHaan, an analyst with the website, said many cities have seen increases of 8 cents to 20 cents in just the past week. "This is what we usually see in late winter, early spring, but prices have started to rally two months earlier than usual," he said.

He said his firm's unscientific user surveys suggest that the pinch at the pump could lead to less travel over spring break in March and April and changes in plans for Memorial Day and even the summer.

"There are people predicting that it will go over $5 a gallon," DeHaan said. "I don't believe that's possible, but it shows how concerned motorists are."

On the Facebook page, many posters were worried that the rise in gas prices could cause an economic meltdown.

"When you raise prices on gas people will stop spending money because they need to get back and forth to work and pay their bills each month," one wrote.

"If it's this high right now, imagine what it's gonna be here in a few months!" another fretted.

White of AAA said that based on historical trends, prices will likely continue to rise into the warmer months and driving season, but not at the same pace they did in 2011 and 2012, when developments in Libya and Iran caused big spikes.

"That is not so much part of the picture right now," she said. "But that could change should something else happen overseas."

HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Keeping Vigil: the 'First Lady' of the law

    Keeping Vigil: the 'First Lady' of the law

    Wednesday, July 26 2017 8:31 PM EDT2017-07-27 00:31:55 GMT

     SPOKANE, Wash. - We have all heard the stories of how crime has risen in Spokane over the years, but not many get to meet the criminals causing the chaos. In tonight's Keeping Vigil, we introduce you to a woman that not many look forward to seeing on a weekday afternoon.  

    More >>

     SPOKANE, Wash. - We have all heard the stories of how crime has risen in Spokane over the years, but not many get to meet the criminals causing the chaos. In tonight's Keeping Vigil, we introduce you to a woman that not many look forward to seeing on a weekday afternoon.  

    More >>
  • Spokane Riverkeeper helps clean up homeless camp

    Spokane Riverkeeper helps clean up homeless camp

    Wednesday, July 26 2017 8:07 PM EDT2017-07-27 00:07:33 GMT
    @SpokaneRiverkeeper@SpokaneRiverkeeper

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Riverkeeper reported Wednesday that they assisted the City Park Department in the removal of trash from a homeless camp below Kendall Yards.  The group removed about 400 lbs with the boat they took to the excursion and the city removed the remainder of the estimated 2,500 lbs.  "Homelessness is an issue that contributes to the litter in and along our river, and we will continue to work with our partners to 

    More >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Riverkeeper reported Wednesday that they assisted the City Park Department in the removal of trash from a homeless camp below Kendall Yards.  The group removed about 400 lbs with the boat they took to the excursion and the city removed the remainder of the estimated 2,500 lbs.  "Homelessness is an issue that contributes to the litter in and along our river, and we will continue to work with our partners to 

    More >>
  • Gas leak evacuates Spokane nursing home

    Gas leak evacuates Spokane nursing home

    Wednesday, July 26 2017 8:00 PM EDT2017-07-27 00:00:35 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Fire Department reports two companies of firefighters responded to an activated fire alarm at a nursing care facility located in the 1800 block of E. Upriver Drive around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night. When crews arrived they found there was a leak from a hazardous gas container.

    More >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Fire Department reports two companies of firefighters responded to an activated fire alarm at a nursing care facility located in the 1800 block of E. Upriver Drive around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night. When crews arrived they found there was a leak from a hazardous gas container.

    More >>