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Robert Trigaux

As Tampa Bay gas prices head to $2.50, how high will they go?

GaspricesAAA Wake up and good morning. How high and how fast will gas prices go?

After hitting a 52-week low late last year, the AAA graph shows national and Florida gas prices have been in lockstep, rising from the $1.70's per gallon of regular to more than $2.50. Compared to other states, Florida prices are in the middle of the pack.

Statewide, the price of regular is $2.528 per gallon, says AAA. That's up from $2.089 just a month ago, but still well below the $3.962 one year ago.

Prices in the Tampa Bay area are slightly cheaper. Gas currently is at an average $2.472 a gallon, up from $2.030 a month ago. A year ago it was $3.893.

The (sort of) good news? According to a report by AAA Auto Club South, gas prices will continue to climb higher, but the rate of acceleration should decline. That's because the price of gas has been pushed up by refinery reductions and crude and wholesale price increases, but not by consumer demand, said Gregg Laskoski, a spokesman for AAA Auto Club South, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The bad news? Rising U.S. gas prices are about the last thing the country needs right now amid government attempts to bring the country -- not to mention Chapter 11 bankrupt GM and Chrysler -- out of recession. Tom Kloza, the Oil Price Information Service's chief oil analyst, told CNN/Money that said with gas prices rising steadily nationwide, struggling Americans may limit their summer vacations and therefore limit the country's economic recovery.

U.S. residents potentially limiting their summer travels amid higher gas prices, states such as Arizona, California and Florida will be among those hurt the most. Added Kloza:

"People are crazy when it comes to the price of gasoline. Nothing has quite the emotional component than gas prices do."

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:25am]


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