Tuesday marked the 1,000th consecutive day where the average price of gas in the U.S. stayed above $3 a gallon, according to AAA's daily tracking service.
The average price at the pump for a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.51 Tuesday, which was down a nickel from a week ago, AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report says.
Paying more than $3 a gallon has become a norm, experts say.
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"Paying less than $3.00 per gallon for gasoline may be automotive history for most Americans, like using 8-track tapes or going to a drive-in movie," Bob Darbelnet, CEO of AAA, told USA Today.
"The reality is that expensive gas is here to stay."
The current streak of above-$3 gas began Dec. 23, 2010. Gas prices first jumped above $3 after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Last year was the most expensive one on record, with gas averaging $3.60 a gallon, AAA said.
Industry insiders say Americans can expect future prices to ebb and flow based on current events — such as the situation in Syria — though it's doubtful they will ever dip below $3 again.
"The market took a chill pill and is reacting as I would expect to the prospect of a peaceful resolution," Patrick DeHaan of the group-sourced gas price reporting site GasBuddy.com told USA Today. "I could see the national average in the very low $3 [a gallon range] by the time we're talking about last minute Christmas shopping."
The good news here is that while prices have stayed steadily above $3, they haven’t yet averaged more than $4. Gas did, however, cost an average of more than $3.75 for a 189-day stretch last year, the closest it's come to $4.
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