Gas prices top $3 a gallon

chart_gas_101222.top.gif By Charles Riley, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Gas prices crossed the milestone $3 mark Thursday for the first time since Oct. 17, 2008, as the national average compiled by motorist group AAA reached $3.013 a gallon.

Prices have risen more than 4% from $2.872 a month ago and are nearly 16% higher than the $2.585 average a year ago, according to the AAA figures.

The cost of gasoline has been climbing steadily since bottoming out at $1.616 in December 2008. However, the average price is down $1.101 -- or 26.7% -- from the record high of $4.114 reported on July 17, 2008.

"On a national average, we've never had Christmas Day with gasoline at three dollars or higher," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst with Oil Price Information Service, an energy trade publication based in Wall, N.J.

The rise in gas prices mirrors a rise in crude oil, which passed the $90 a barrel mark on Wednesday. Oil prices haven't settled above $90 a barrel since October of 2008.

The spike in crude has been helped along by a weak dollar, and according to some critics, the Fed's quantitative easing program.

But higher gas prices aren't going to keep motorists off the road this holiday season, according to Troy Green, a national spokesman for AAA.

He said AAA is sticking with its projection that 85.7 million people will travel by car to their holiday destinations, a 3.2% increase over last year.

Prices in Hawaii are the highest in the nation, with a gallon of gas costing $3.636. But this state is an outlier.

Californians pay the most in the lower 48, shelling out $3.275. New York follows, with an average gallon costing $3.262.

Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia are already paying more than $3 a gallon.

But some states pay far less. Residents of Colorado enjoy the lowest price at $2.755 per gallon.

On its Web site, AAA says the information is gathered by Oil Price Information Service and based on up to 100,000 stations nationwide.

According to a separate report issued by the Oil Price Information Service, drivers are estimated to spend $305 on gasoline in December. To top of page

Just the hot list include
Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 24,462.94 -201.95 -0.82%
Nasdaq 7,146.13 -91.93 -1.27%
S&P 500 2,670.14 -22.99 -0.85%
Treasuries 2.95 0.04 1.27%
Data as of 10:45am ET
Company Price Change % Change
General Electric Co 14.54 0.55 3.93%
Bank of America Corp... 30.26 0.08 0.27%
Apple Inc 165.72 -7.08 -4.10%
Ford Motor Co 10.82 -0.14 -1.28%
Advanced Micro Devic... 9.99 -0.12 -1.19%
Data as of Apr 20
Sponsors

Sections

The American newspaper industry says tariffs on Canadian paper could force it to cut jobs, drop pages or print fewer editions. Some are worried that smaller papers might not survive. More

US regulators are close to slapping Wells Fargo with a $1 billion fine for forcing customers into car insurance and charging mortgage borrowers unfair fees. More

The Justice Department is probing wireless carriers, and that investigation could put the eSIM card rollout on hold. More