Gas prices: 'Most expensive February ever'

pump_prices.gi.top.jpg By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Gas prices jumped 6 cents overnight, as the recent spike in oil prices begins to hit filling stations across America.

The national average price for a gallon of regular gas rose 5.9 cents to $3.287, motorist group AAA said Friday. That marks the third day in a row that prices have risen, and brings the national average to the highest level since October 2008.

Gasoline prices and taxes by state
Prices at the pump can vary widely among states due to a number of factors. More

So far this week, gas prices have increased nearly 12 cents a gallon. And analysts expect prices to continue higher in the next few days following a sharp rise in the price of crude oil.

Gas prices were highest in Hawaii, where drivers paid $3.757 a gallon, on average. Wyoming had the lowest gas prices at roughly, $3.014 a gallon.

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, said the jump in gas prices reported Friday was the largest one-day increase since at least 2008.

"This will definitely be the most expensive February ever," he said, adding that gas prices are typically lower during the winter months.

The jump in pump prices follows a surge in prices for crude oil, the main ingredient in gasoline. Oil prices were holding near $98 a barrel early Friday morning, one day after prices hit a high of $103 a barrel -- the highest since October 2008.

Analysts expect prices to continue rising over the next few days, since gas prices typically lag trends in the oil market.

The spike in oil this week could translate to an increase in gas prices of 37 cents per gallon in the coming weeks, according Moody's Analytics economist Chris Lafakis. He estimates that for every $1 increase in the price of oil, retail gas prices typically rise 2.5 cents a gallon.

Economists warn that an energy price shock could hurt the economic recovery in the United States. In general, every $1 increase in the price of oil costs consumers $1 billion over the course of a year.

That's concerning because consumer spending makes up the bulk of U.S. gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic growth.

The government said Friday that GDP was revised lower to an annual growth rate of 2.8% in the three months ending in December. The initial reading had been for a 3.2% growth rate in the period.

Oil prices have been driven higher by political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, where much of the world's oil comes from. Despite the surge in prices this week, the amount of oil that has been taken off the world market has been relatively minimal.  To top of page

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 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
Nasdaq 4,095.52 9.29 0.23%
S&P 500 1,864.85 2.54 0.14%
Treasuries 2.72 0.08 3.19%
Data as of 3:56pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.15 0.00 0.00%
Facebook Inc 58.94 0.00 0.00%
General Electric Co 26.56 0.00 0.00%
Cisco Systems Inc 23.21 0.00 0.00%
Micron Technology In... 23.91 0.00 0.00%
Data as of Apr 17
Sponsors

Sections

Spencer has been a supporting member of the "Good Morning America" cast for the past three years. More

Obamacare sign ups hit 8 million, though final enrollment remains to be seen. More

Office for iPad move is a symbolic victory for Nadella's Microsoft, but the company is still weighed down by many of the same old issues. More

Schwinn, Trek and Cannondale are all iconic American bicycle brands. But none of them are made in the United States. More

As Detroit moves closer to reaching a bankruptcy deal, retired civilian workers are poised to be left worse off than firemen and police officers. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.