Gas prices are on the rise again and headed for a record.
At midweek, gas averaged $3.70 a gallon nationally, up 30 cents since July. Prices are now higher in 39 states than a year ago, USA Today reported. The 9 percent hike in the past month has pushed the average pump price 10 cents higher this year than the $3.51 average for 2011, which was the most expensive year for motorists.
Industry experts say prices will to continue rise through the summer, topping out around $3.90 a gallon nationally, although they are already above $4 in some states. A refinery fire in California, ruptured pipelines in Wisconsin and Illinois and equipment problems in Illinois and Indiana are blamed for the rise.
The price hikes mean less disposable income and could restrict consumer spending.
The $4 threshold is when you see sticker shock and marked changes in consumer behavior and spending patterns, said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West. The longer we see these highs, the more impact youll see on consumer spending.
Sustained high pump prices, especially in several battleground states, could also affect the presidential campaign.