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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — U.S. gasoline prices began 2012 with the highest number ever to start a new year. The price of regular unleaded rose eight cents this past week alone.

Tim Williams explains the climb may continue through the end of summer.

As fireworks marked the New Year by going up, so did gas prices across the country.

“Consistent with what we saw at the very end of 2011, gas prices, as well as crude oil prices, have steadily increased,” said Ragina Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic.

The price in Maryland is $3.34 a gallon. It’s a penny lower than the national average but nine cents higher than last week.

“Three dollars a gallon. Five dollars gets you what, a gallon and a half?” said one driver.

Recent threats by Iran to shut down one of the world’s most significant oil routes are causing analysts to speculate over just how drastically prices may climb in the U.S.

“Certainly we have enough issues going on in the world and in this country the tendency could be higher,” said Pete Horrigan, Mid-Atlantic Petroleum Distributors Association.

Gas prices have now risen for the fifth consecutive week. Analysts say that if this trend continues, it will likely break $4 per gallon by spring and ultimately set new record highs.

“Additionally, Congress failed to renew a federal subsidy for ethanol at the end of last year and that may have some impact on gas prices,” Averella said.

This time of year when fuel demand is down, prices typically drop. But 2011 had the highest recorded average for an entire year, so experts don’t expect an immediate turnaround.

“Based on the geo-political events and what we’re seeing with crude oil prices, it does not look very promising for gas prices in the near future,” Averella said.

AAA cautions any unforseen natural disasters will likely send prices higher than currently expected.

Comments (9)
  1. fogey0 says:

    And our idiot governor, after raiding and emptying the transportation fund, wants to raise the gas tax!

  2. Irene Gabriel says:

    I agree, fogey0! That idiot waited until his second term before doing something
    so outrageous.. HE SHOULD BE RECALLED!


  3. Phillip says:

    LOL I had the same idea fogey0! First thing that came to my mind too.

  4. MD DAD says:

    Owe will probably use the current gas situation to help his future political aspirations. It will probably happen like this: The gas per gallon increase will pass Md legislature, but not as much as originally proposed. That way Owe can come back and state how he was responsible for keeping the gas tax lower.during these hard times with rising das prices.

  5. MD DAD says:

    meaning gas…not das

  6. Ron says:

    Just another was for the 1% to get even richer off the 99%.

  7. eduardo says:

    Mother F….kr’s, Exon, Shell & BP.

  8. Steve Wilson says:

    Lots of comments by obvious Right Wingers to cover up the facts. The GOP is the Party of Big Business and the wealthy. Ronnie and George the Second are the ones who increased the National Debt by double digits (not Clinton or Obama). Republicans caused the Recession. Republicans have fought every effort to turn the Recession around. Republicans steadfastly refuse to reign in Big Oil who has made obscene profits from illegally influencing the price of oil and gasoline, and who are subsidized by taxpayers). Republicans want to weaken the ability of the Federal Government, as well as State and local governments, to protect the average taxpayer. And government is the only entity capable of standing up to Big Business. While I’m not a fan of a higher gas tax, until Republicans are voted out of office so we can turn the Economy around, there will be unpopular taxes. Its time to increase taxes on the wealthy, Big Businesses, and churches who get involved in politics.

  9. independent says:

    When are we going to stop sending billions in petrol purchases to people who hate us?

    It shouldn’t matter what IRAN is doing, we must become energy independent and that realisticallymeans a mix of drilling (non sanctuary) and more expensive renewables until renewable technology catches up and becomes less expensive.

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