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Gas hits all-time high
Average unleaded prices now at an all-time record, according to AAA.
March 17, 2005: 2:43 PM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - For those who thought gas prices were troubling before, there's a new reason to complain about pain at the pump.

The current average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline has hit a record high of $2.055, far ahead of the summer driving season, the American Automobile Association said Thursday.

The previous highest recorded price was $2.054, reached May 26, 2004, according to AAA, the largest U.S. motorist club.

The AAA conducts surveys of gas prices published five days a week, while the Energy Information Administration publishes weekly surveys of pump prices.

Retail gas prices have flirted with record highs over the past few weeks in tandem with soaring crude oil prices.

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"For several weeks, analysts have predicted new record high prices this spring," Dawn Duffy, AAA spokeswoman, said earlier in the week.

"The same dynamics that created record high prices last year still exist today, including the seasonal switch to summer fuel production. The one difference is that crude oil traded at $37 per barrel a year ago, but now hovers near $54 today," Duffy added.

While Thursday's price sets a new record at the pump, when adjusted for inflation the highest price for gasoline would be the equivalent of more than $3.00 a gallon in the spring of 1981, Reuters said, citing the Department of Energy.

Hawaii currently has the highest average gasoline prices at $2.441 a gallon for regular unleaded, while motorists in New Jersey enjoy the nation's lowest average price for regular unleaded at $1.844 a gallon, according to AAA.

The prospect of record breaking gas prices has prompted President Bush to urge Congress to approve his plan to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.  Top of page

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