Drivers will face the highest-ever prices at the pump for the Labor Day holiday and are being hit with the biggest one-day jump of gas prices in 18 months going into of the final weekend of summer, according to AAA.
As 28 million people are about to take to the nation's highways, the average price of a gallon of gas jumped almost 5 cents on Wednesday to $3.80, the highest ever for this date.
Many parts of the country are already seeing prices north of $4 a gallon and prices are expected to continue to climb through Labor Day weekend, Bloomberg News reported. Gas costs skyrocketed 5.1 percent during July, the highest increase for the month since at least 2000.
“We expect the national average price of gasoline for Labor Day this year to be the highest ever for the holiday,” Michael Green, a spokesman for AAA in Washington, told Bloomberg News.
Motorists are seeing the effects of the spike throughout the country. Gas stations on opposite corners off Route 17 in Goshen, N.Y., posted $4.09 for regular gasoline Wednesday morning, according to the Times Herald-Record. Freddy Almsry, working the counter at the Mobil station, told the paper that higher gasoline prices force customers to buy less fuel and they tend to buy fewer items in the station’s store.
"When the price goes up, people stop traveling," Almsry said. "It used to be $50 to fill my car; now it's $80."
Some are choosing to stay home to avoid the spike in prices.
"I will be home," Mary Kitson of Chester, N.Y., told the Herald-Record as she filled her car. "The price of gas makes you more careful of your spending. You watch where your money goes."
In Oklahoma, where prices have shot up more than 7 cents in a week, Dorraine Jolly, told the Shawnee News-Star that she doesn’t buy the idea that Hurricane Isaac is contributing to the spike in prices, "It shouldn’t go up," she said. "Not one penny."
The price of crude oil has been trending upward since midsummer, from about $80 a barrel to about $96 a barrel Wednesday, David Sykuta, executive director of the Illinois Petroleum Council, told the Daily Chronicle of DeKalb County in Illinois.
Joshua Williams, who fueled up Wednesday at a Mobil station along Route 38 in DeKalb, told the Chronicle he paid $4 a gallon. He told the paper high gas prices limit how far he can travel since he lost his job in Aurora.
“I can’t travel out as much. I go out one or two times a week,” he said. “If it gets any higher than that, I’m not going to go anywhere.”
Gas prices at $4 a gallon could enable Republicans to keep the country’s focus on the sluggish economy leading up to the election. Analysts have said that they believe prices will drop again in September but it leaves Republicans a few weeks to blame President Barack Obama and Democrats for spiking prices.
One Cincinnati station, according to kypost.com, raised its price for regular Wednesday to $4.25 a gallon, which ties Cincinnati's all-time record set back in 2008.
"The national average will keep ticking higher, and it's going to be noticeable," Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at Gasbuddy.com, told the Associated Press.
Bill Moore, who owns a gas station in Steubenville, Ohio, was at a loss as to what to tell his customers. A gallon of regular climbed to $3.95 a gallon from $3.79 at Moore's station.
"They're irate. They're complaining bad," Moore told CNN. "I don't know what to tell them. It's going up for me as well."
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