Gas prices: Another record closer to $4

The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline rose to new highs, inching ever closer to $4 a gallon, according to AAA.

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By Catherine Clifford, CNNMoney.com staff writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Retail gas prices set a record high for the 28th time in the past 29 days, motorist group AAA's Web site showed Thursday.

AAA reports the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline rose to a record high of $3.989, up 0.6 of a cent from the previous day's high of $3.983.

The AAA survey shows gas prices are up more than 10% from a month ago and more than 27% higher from year-ago levels.

This record runup of prices at the pump coincides with the start of the summer driving season, which unofficially began over Memorial Day.

A government supply report that came out on Wednesday, however, showed that gas demand for the week ending May 30th and including Memorial Day was actually down by 1.4% from the same period last year, indicating that high prices at the pump are changing driver's behavior.

The weekly inventory report, issued by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, said that over the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand has averaged 9.3 million barrels per day.

At these levels, "demand for gasoline opened the summer driving season last week at the lowest level in four years," according to Stephen Schork, in his industry newsletter, The Schork Report.

The average price for gas has passed the $4 a gallon mark in 13 states, as well as in Washington, D.C. Those states where gas has already passed the $4 threshold are: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and West Virginia.

The most expensive state for buying gas is California, where a gallon of regular unleaded costs an average of $4.368 according to AAA. The second most expensive state is Alaska, where a gallon of gas costs $4.279.

The least expensive state for purchasing gas is South Carolina, where a gallon costs $3.794 a gallon on average. The second least expensive state for gas is Missouri, where a gallon runs $3.799 a gallon.

Gas prices have been pushed to record levels in the past year on the back of record oil prices. The price of crude oil has more than doubled in the past year, pushing retail gas prices up.

However, as crude oil prices have fallen off their highs in the past weeks, gas prices at the pump continue to march higher. On May 22, crude oil traded above $135 a barrel, but on Thursday morning, crude was hovering just over $122 a barrel.  To top of page

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