Gas Prices Jump 11 Cents Over Holiday Weekend - New York News

Gas Prices Jump 11 Cents Over Holiday Weekend

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PHILADELPHIA -

Since the beginning of 2013, gasoline prices have skyrocketed a staggering 46 cents a gallon, AAA says.

The national average price of gasoline is now $3.75, up from $3.29 on Jan. 1.

AA says retail gas prices have climbed for 33 days straight, and over the long Presidents' Day weekend, the average jumped 11 cents a gallon.

Locally, gas prices in the Philadelphia 5-county area rose 4 cents to $3.77 on Tuesday, while prices are up 6 cents to $3.59 in South Jersey and 7 cents to $3.69 in Delaware.

"That's the startling wallet-busting, gut-kicking news from the latest AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report," the automotive group states in a news release Tuesday.

As for the likelihood of hitting the $4-a-gallon mark, AAA Mid-Atlantic Manager of Public and Government Affairs Jenny M. Robinson, said, "Looking ahead, it is highly probable the average cost of gasoline will inch closer to this dreaded milestone, that is, if the price of gasoline continues to increase at its current incessant clip."

In some parts of country, the five is back. Fox News cameras found one station in California topping out at nearly $5.24 a gallon for premium.

It may not be fair, but it's not exactly unexpected, either.

Refineries will have to start their annual ritual of switching over to government required summer blends. And that's just one factor.

Jeff Lenard, of the National Association Of Convenience Stores, explained the problem this way: "No. 1, we have the unrest in the Middle East, whether it's Egypt of whether it's Iran; No. 2, we are still feeling some after effects of Hurricane Sandy. The East Coast hasn't caught up with inventories, and that's been a problem."

Meanwhile, the energy debate in Washington is focused on supply.

There were more protests over the weekend in front of the White House over building the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada. Environmentalists are concerned about possible spills.

Canada is quick to point out that U.S. oil has to come from somewhere.

Over the weekend, Gary Doer, Canadian ambassador to the U.S., told Platt's Energy Week, "People protesting do get more attention in the media than the 65 percent of Americans that prefer to get their oil from Canada rather than Venezuela and the Middle East."

And, as the debate rages on, all of that additional money spent at the pump has an impact. The average annual U.S. household expenditure for gasoline reached $2,912, in 2012. That's about 4 percent of the average family income before taxes.

A survey by AAA shows 69 percent of respondents say they would change their driving or discretionary spending habits once gas prices hit the $4-per-gallon mark, with 55 percent of motorists saying they would alter their driving behavior by consolidating trips or errands.

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