The gap between what drivers are paying for gasoline compared with a year ago is widening and figures to get worse between now and the end of the year.
Prices at the pump were $2.629 a gallon on Monday, 80.4 cents more a gallon than a year ago, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Services. That is about $40 more a month for a typical motorist.
The government releases its survey on retail prices late Monday.
Gasoline prices bottomed near $1.61 during the last few days of 2008 as the recession took hold, demand for fuel crumbled and the stock markets tumbled.
Consumers now are paying about $1 billion a day for gasoline, about $300 million more a day for gasoline than they did a year ago.
And in December, for the first time in about 10 years, oil prices are expected to be twice what they were a year ago, says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for OPIS.
Crude prices have been trading between $75 and $82 a barrel for the past month or so. Prices hit $33.87 a barrel on Dec. 19.
The rapid rise in prices is worse for consumers this time, however. Before prices doubled in early 2000, a barrel of crude cost about $10.
Oil prices fell a penny to $76.04 a barrel after falling earlier Monday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Prices tumbled $1.61 on Friday and were down as much $5.57, or 7 percent, after Dubai's investment arm, Dubai World, asked for a six-month reprieve on payments for about $60 billion in debt. The drop was the biggest decline in oil prices since April 20.
Energy prices regained some of that ground and by Sunday, the United Arab Emirates took steps to avert any run on banks by panicked depositors.
By Monday, it appeared oil was trading once again on the same factors that have heavily influenced prices for several months -- the value of the dollar and global stock markets.
Oil prices usually climb when the dollar falls, as dollar-denominated commodities such as oil and gold become cheaper to investors holding other currencies.
Crude prices rose and fell, following the dollar's strength against the euro.
In other Nymex trading, heating oil for December delivery added a penny to reach $1.9734 a gallon. Gasoline added 2.68 cents to $1.953 a gallon. Natural gas shed 31 cents to $4.881 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In London, Brent crude for January delivery rose 29 cents to $77.47 on the ICE Futures exchange.
Associated Press writers Pablo Gorondi in Budapest and Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, contributed to this report.
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