There’s no getting around it. As a nation we've never paid more at the pump than we did this year. The yearly national average is running at $3.63/gallon so far for 2012, and it's all but guaranteed that 2012 will go down as the year with the highest average ever.
With one month left, yes, it’s mathematically possible that 2012 could close without becoming the most expensive year ever for American consumers at the gas pumps; but that would necessitate an unthinkable calamity.
“We did the math,” says Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, “and the numbers don’t lie. Last year’s average price of gasoline nationwide was $3.51 per gallon. The national average price of gasoline in the U.S. would have to drop to $2.35 per gallon or lower for every day for the remainder of 2012 in order for the 2012 yearly average price to fall below last year’s level.
“There’s no question that the national numbers were elevated by major supply problems in California over the summer and more recently on the East Coast when Hurricane Sandy delivered major flood damage and power outages at northeastern refineries,” said GasBuddy’s Gregg Laskoski, also a GasBuddy analyst. “It reminds us exactly how vulnerable our nation’s fuel infrastructure is and why the U.S. should be looking to increase refining capacity where it is needed most.”