Pump prices around $3 may look like a bargain by spring

By The Associated Press

Gas pump prices that are around $3 a gallon now may seem like a bargain by the time your kids are on Easter egg hunts.

Pump prices have risen nearly 9 percent since Dec. 1 and topped $3.10 a gallon this week. That’s the highest level since October 2008. The price may rise or fall a little over the next few months, but analysts expect it to range between $3.20 and $3.75 gallon by March and April ahead of the summer driving season.

The national average for regular gasoline about $3.12 a gallon on Friday, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That’s nearly 12 cents more than a month ago and 38 cents above a year ago.

Average pump prices range from $2.81 to $3.70 in major cities. For example, the average in Salt Lake City is $2.74 a gallon and in New Orleans it’s $2.97 a gallon. Drivers in San Francisco pay $3.44 a gallon, and in Honolulu gas is $3.58 a gallon.

Americans typically drive less in the winter. Demand is about 1 percentage point higher than a year ago but remains weaker than the historical average, said energy analyst Jim Ritterbusch. The nation’s gasoline supplies remain above the five-year average.