The most expensive year ever for gasoline purchases in the U.S. is heading to a close, but not without one last snatch at motorists' wallets. Pain levels at the pump are rising again in California and across the rest of the nation, assuring that 2011 will mark the second year in a row that prices have posted record December highs.
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California on Tuesday is $3.562, up 2.2 cents since last week, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. That was enough to shatter the old record for Dec. 27 of $3.301, set last year. Previous to that, the worst that Californians had seen on this day was $3.266 a gallon in 2007.
Nationally, the numbers tell the same story. The U.S. average for a gallon of regular gasoline Tuesday is $3.231, up 1.8 cents since last week. That broke the old record set last year, which was an average of $3.042 a gallon. Before that, the highest U.S. average for this day was $2.981 in 2007.