From the Tuscon Citizen
Nearly one-third of the nation’s drivers now fork out $4 or more for a gallon of gasoline.
After a 31-cent jump in the past month, regular gasoline averages $3.82 nationwide. But price analysis of major metropolitan areas and 10 states — home to more than 65 million of the nation’s 210 million drivers — shows even more pain at the pump, especially in heavily populated California, New York and Illinois.
Gas prices have prompted plenty of grousing and political debate in a hotly contested presidential election year. But economists expect surging prices to have only modest impact on consumer spending.
Barring a major disruption in supplies from the Middle East, pump prices are expected to top out at about $4 nationally by Memorial Day weekend — about where they reached in 2011 and below July 2008′s record $4.08.
Prices may have peaked in California, after a 51-cent surge to $4.36 a gallon since mid-February. “We’re in the ninth inning there, but in the middle innings elsewhere,” says Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service. “Most of the country is going to move a bit higher.”
In unrelated news President Obama announced that he will attended six separate fundraisers in 24 hours, a new personal record.Prices in California are impacted by costlier formulations mandated under state environmental regulations. A BP refinery in Washington state, shut down by a fire last month, also pushed prices higher along the West Coast.