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PHILADEPHIA -- The greater Philadelphia market has joined an unpopular but growing trend -- the $4 dollar gallon of gas club.
According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, seven gas stations in the eight-county area posted prices of $4 or more for regular-grade yesterday. All locations, the report stated, were on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River.
"It seems like it's been inching up every day, even if it's just by a penny or two," Catherine L. Rossi of AAA MidAtlantic told Phill.com. "We had expected that some stations in the Philadelphia area would reach $4. We're hopeful that the average price would not top $4, though it is certainly possible."
Over the weekend, Chicago and New York's Long Island markets hit the feared mark. In South Jersey, the highest price recorded by AAA yesterday was $3.97 a gallon.
"Crude [oil] is the driving force for the gasoline price hikes," Rossi told Philly.com. "It really depends on what happens with crude. If it goes down or stays the same, we may not reach $4. If crude goes up, it surely will."
If the rising prices weren't punishment enough, customers using credit cards are getting a double-whammy. "Some stations are charging more for credit card use," Rossi told the news service. "They're passing on the card-processing fees to drivers." Credit card
transactions generally run about six cents more a gallon than cash, she explained.
According to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, pump prices in parts of California have been stuck above $4 a gallon for weeks, while prices in Alaska and Connecticut are averaging just above $4 a gallon.
This time last year, the national average was $3.18 a gallon.