As spring turns to summer Memorial Day weekend, pain at the pump may pass from excrutiating to intolerable with analysts predicting prices up to $5.00 a gallon, according to the L.A. Times.
And it's likely to be a long, lingering pain with prices expected to remain above $4.00 a gallon in most parts of the country throughout the summer months.
Gasbuddy.com says that gas prices will climb almost steadily from early spring until they peak around Memorial Day. The average American can expect to pay approximately $4.70 a gallon and those who buy their gasoline in Chicago will be paying $5.00.
Gasbuddy.com predicts a summer average price of $4.05 a gallon which, when adjusted for inflation, is six cents shy of the record set in summer 2008 when gasoline averaged $4.11.
To fill up the tank on an average SUV in Chicago this summer will cost approximately $100 if gasbuddy.com's predictions are true.
The reasons behind the prices might shock those who lived through the gas lines and gasoline rationing of the 1970s. The cause of high prices in the decade of disco was a shortage of petroleum and gasoline. The cause in the new millenium is an excess of gasoline.
Americans are driving less due to higher fuel prices. They are also driving more fuel efficient vehicles. Therefore, American refiners are exporting excess gasoline for higher profits. 2011 was the first year in more than 60 years the United States was a net exporter of fuel, according toCNN.
Gasoline prices this summer will be of special importance since, with fall, comes a presidential election. The economy seems to be staggering and stumbling its way toward recovery. Record gas prices could trip up economic recovery and President Obama's reelection effort as well.