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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Gas prices are about to reach a milestone. For the first time on record, the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is set to surpass $3 per gallon on Sept. 17 for the 1,000th consecutive day, reported AAA. This streak began on Dec. 23, 2010.
AAA forecasts that the national average will remain about $3 per gallon for at least another 1,000 days, barring a major economic recession.
"Paying less than $3 per gallon for gasoline may be automotive history for most Americans, like using 8-track tapes or going to a drive-in movie," said AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet. "The reality is that expensive gas is here to stay, which is tough on millions of people who need a car to live their lives. While a few lucky drivers may occasionally pay less than $3 per gallon, the national average is likely to remain more costly into the future."
Today's national average is $3.52 per gallon, and gas prices on average have remained above $3.50 per gallon for the majority of days in the current streak. Since this streak began, consumers have paid a national average of:
- $3.25 per gallon or higher for 913 total days.
- $3.50 per gallon or higher for 643 total days.
- $3.75 per gallon or higher for 189 total days.
- $4 per gallon or higher for zero days.
"Motorists took notice when gas prices crept past $3 per gallon," Darbelnet continued. "Spending more on gas concerns consumers because it reduces savings and spending for everything else we need. Our leaders can help alleviate this economic burden by encouraging a national policy that stimulates production, limits price volatility, ensures greater efficiency and promotes alternative energy."
Gas prices first surged above $3 per gallon for eight days immediately after Hurricane Katrina struck, from Sept. 3-10, 2005, according to AAA. The longest streak above $3 per gallon prior to the current 1,000-day run took place over 244 days from Feb. 17-Oct.17, 2008.
So far this year, the national average price of gas has been $3.57 per gallon, but AAA expects this average to fall through December as gas demand decreases during the cooler months.
2012 was the most expensive year on record, with an annual average of $3.60 per gallon, up from an annual average of $3.51 per gallon in 2011. The average U.S. household spent $2,912 on gasoline, or just below 4 percent its income before taxes, according to Energy Information Administration data.
During the current streak, the most expensive daily national average was $3.98 per gallon on May 5, 2011, while the lowest daily national average was $3.01 per gallon on Dec. 23, 2010.