By Jennifer Geiger on August 15, 2012
Gas prices started out lower than average this summer, but industry analysts now predict that 2012 may turn out to be the costliest summer in years, reports USA Today.
Brian Milne of energy tracker Telvent DTN believes that gas prices will peak this month around $4 a gallon for regular fuel before starting to slide in September.
The current nationwide average price of a gallon of regular fuel is $3.709, up about 30 cents from last month's national average price of $3.396, according to AAA's fuel gauge report. Last year at this time, a gallon of regular averaged $3.594.
Many parts of the country are seeing higher prices than the national average for several reasons, Milne told USA Today. Recent production cuts at Midwest refineries pushed prices up in the area. A refinery fire in Northern California has done the same for the West Coast.
"The $4 threshold is when you see sticker shock and marked changes in consumer behavior and spending patterns," Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West, told USA Today.
Tell us: Will $4 a gallon change your spending habits?
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer