January gas prices hit all-time high
Drivers paid more in January than ever before
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Drivers paid more for a gallon of gas this past January than ever before.
According to a new report from AAA, January's monthly average was $3.37, 28 cents more than January 2011, and 66 cents more than in 2010, when the monthly average was $2.71.
Gas prices in Jacksonville reached as high as $3.69 a gallon last month, according to the report.
The group says things won't be getting better anytime soon.
The national average is expected to surpass $3.50 a gallon this week, while Florida's average already hit $3.60. Prices could go up 60 more cents by May.
The price of gasoline continues to rise even as oil prices trade below $100 a barrel for the fourth consecutive week.
Closed refineries are being blamed for the rise in retail gas prices after multiple refineries shut down in the Northeast, Texas and Louisiana.
Typically, refineries go into maintenance mode at the start of March to begin the switch in production from the winter fuel blend to summer blend, an occurrence that jump starts the upward trend in summer pump prices.
"Gas prices are high now, so I've already limited my places where I can go to save money on gas," said Jamie Shepperd, who owns a fuel-efficient Prius Hybrid. "With it being 60 cents, I don't even think I could make it to work."
Shepperd said she feels for the people who drive gas guzzlers.
"Well, they're not going to do much anymore," she said. "They're going to sit at home or just go to work or take buses."
Other commuters are riding out the rising prices by just driving smarter.
"Make sure wherever you have to go, see if you can squeeze as many things in that route as possible," driver Wandetta Bowden said.
FLORIDA STATS: AAA's Fuel Guage Report
Experts say consumers will be vulnerable to rising gas prices until the U.S. develops alternative fuels.
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