By Tim Williams

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Gas prices are surging and quickly inching to $4 per gallon. This February is the earliest gas prices have ever topped the $3.50 mark.

The Mid-Atlantic region has been hit exceptionally hard, and as Tim Williams reports, the end may not be in sight just yet.

It’s being called a “crude awakening.”

“Hey, you can’t do nothing but deal with it. I mean, you got to reach in your pocket and do what you got to do,” said Lester Bailey of West Baltimore.

Analysts anticipate the Mid-Atlantic region will become a hot spot for gasoline prices in the near future. The next 60 days will prove extremely volatile for fuel costs up and down the East Coast.

“In the spring, when the refineries switch over to the summer fuel blends, they are actually cleaner burning fuels and better for the environment,” said Ragina Averella of AAA Mid-Atlantic. “But unfortunately, they’re a little more expensive to refine and subsequently to produce and we then sometimes see gas prices increase.”

Add to that the idling of two Philadelphia area refineries in recent weeks and the threat of another closure soon, and prices may be headed to $4 per gallon in the coming weeks.

“2011 was the highest recorded average for the entire year for gas prices. Unfortunately, 2012 isn’t looking very promising at this point,” said Averella.

Midwest prices average $1 per gallon lower than here.

East Coast motorists have already endured two months of record-setting gas prices this year. Some drivers can only laugh at the impact.

“That’s right, but I’m still broke and in debt,” Bailey said.

Prices are expected to go higher by this summer if a third Philadelphia area refinery closes. A Sunoco refinery is expected to shut down by July 1 if a buyer is not found.

The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gas is now $3.65. That is 12-cents higher than one week ago.

Comments (15)
  1. Debbie says:

    Gee somebody tell our tax hungry Governor O’Malley.. Will we all now have a sales tax added to these rising prices to cover for the money he took from the Transportation fund to balance his budget.
    And he wants to run for National office. God help America.. He is the epitome of what we are trying to get out of office, politicians out of touch with the average working man and interested only in their own agendas.

  2. maryland resident says:

    like we need WJZ to tell us this , what we are too stupid to see the prices rise on our own, big major news flash to report

    1. Ricci Adams says:

      They do, because the Government does not listen to the people.

  3. wheres common sense when you need it says:

    Nobody wants us to drill, nobody wants a pipeline, what do you expect. Unless people learn to compromise on these issues, we will all be paying a higher price, an not just for gas!

  4. Ernie says:

    Since there’s an oil surplus, might as well close a couple refineries to cut supply and spike demand so the oil companies can keep their inflated profits.

  5. Jerry says:

    We should do what the truckers did. Park our cars in front of the State Capitol and the state house in protest of the gas tax the idiot wants to start. Or we can make him happy and just camp out in front of both places and give him an idea how many people will be homeless cause of all the tax hikes. The Mayor isn’t no better.

  6. Rob says:

    @ Jerry… Ok, I’m in lets do it. Best bet would be to get truckers, particulary diesel, to pack downtown Annapolis carrying signs. (And pedestrioans and others can fillLAwyers MAll with signs) This has been the mildest winter in 20 years and diesel is at record highs. that translates to higher consumer goods. Lets pick a day during the week, so we know the MD corrupts are at work and let show we are tired of this. Goto Facebook and like Stop Rising Oil Prices, this needs to go nationally as well. We need to stop the Insanity !!!!!!!!!!! The #1 EXPORT from the US last year was OIL !!!!!!!! it needs to stay here so we can take care of ourselves first.

  7. scott says:

    This has nothing to do with to supply and demand issues as the consumption is actually dropping. We are seeing a rise because of speculators and the drop in value of the dollar. Either way, you can thank you’re lovely president for sitting by and ignoring our potential energy futures.

  8. concerned citizen says:

    Scott, get a grip.

  9. Paul B says:

    Jerry, I’m with you buddy. Do you have a fb page up yet?

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