If you think filling up your car took a bigger-than-normal bite out of your wallet this year, you're right.
GasBuddy.com says the national average for 2012 so far is $3.63 a gallon. If that number holds up, it would easily surpass last year's average price of $3.51. And that's almost certain to happen.
"The national average price of gasoline in the U.S. would have to drop to $2.35 per gallon or lower for every day for the remainder of 2012 in order for the 2012 yearly average price to fall below last year’s level," GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan said in a blog post.
GasBuddy is predicting a slight decline in gas prices leading up to Christmas. DeHaan says the national average could fall to as low as $3.25 by the holiday. That would still be a record high, though. By way of comparison, GasBuddy says the average price on Christmas last year was $3.24 a gallon. It was $3.03 on Christmas Day 2010, $2.60 in 2009 and $1.65 in 2008.
GasBuddy analyst Gregg Laskoski says the 2012 average price was driven up by supply problems in California during the summer, and flood damage and power outages at northeastern refineries caused by Superstorm Sandy.
According to AAA, today's national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.37.