April 22, 2011
The Easter weekend has brought Maryland drivers a rotten egg in the form of gasoline prices.
The state’s gas prices continued what looks like an inexorable march toward the $4 mark this week as they increased 3 cents from a week ago to match the national average for a gallon of unleaded of $3.85. It was the fourth straight week that prices have increased. The average has steadily climbed by 78 cents since the beginning of the year and is threatening to reach the $4 mark by Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.
AAA said the increase has been driven by a run-up in the price of crude oil, which has been affected by unrest in the Middle East.
“The market’s momentum makes it impossible to rule out $4.00 a gallon gasoline by Memorial Day, despite some analysts’ predictions to the contrary, however we remain cautiously optimistic that we’ll see some gas price stability in the coming weeks,” said AAA Maryland spokeswoman Ragina Averella.
Crude oil ended trading at more than $112 Thursday, up 2.4 percent for the week. Friday is a market holiday.
AAA said gasoline prices are reaching the point where they could have a significant impact on family summer travel — as they did when prices last rose to more than $4 a gallon in 2008.
“The cost of gas may cause some people to change or altogether cancel their summer vacation plans,” AAA said.
The average price has already reached $3.90 in the Washington suburbs, though Baltimore remains at the national and state average. The state’s lowest prices are still found on the Eastern Shore, with the Salisbury average standing at $3.66.
The previous record was set in 2008, when the price hit a national record of $4.11.
… Hose ‘ya now, hose ‘ya later, too!. ….