National gas price average breaks $3 barrier
Well, it's official. Just in time for Christmas, the U.S. average price of gas is above $3 for the first time since late 2008. It's the highest national average ever for the holiday season. Ho-ho-ho.
The barrier fell overnight as the average price for a gallon of regular crept from $2.997 to $3.013 -- more than a week after the Maryland average price broke the $3 mark. The Maryland average stands at $3.02 today.
If there's a consolation, it's that the rate of increase has moderated from the first half of the month, when prices were increasing more than a penny a day in many markets.
All regions of Maryland except the Eastern Shore have now breached the $3 barrier. The highest prices are currently being found in the Washington area, while Baltimore lags about a penny behind the state average.
Ragina Averella, spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic said the fact that crude oil prices broke the $90 mark yesterday for the first time since October 2008 could portend further increases. She said some analysts fear that if crude oil continues to rise at its current pace, the average price could reach $3.75 by spring.
As a measure of how much potential Christmas money is being pumped out of the economy, Averella said consumers will spend about $34 billion on gas this December, compared with $28 billion the same month a year ago.