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Commentary: Up, up and away at the pump

Three dollars and fifty cents. Look for your average neighborhood gas station to display those digits in the days ahead, if it hasn’t already.

Drivers in 10 states already pay more than $3.50 per gallon at the pump. Another 17 are less than a dime away from that price. Let’s remember it’s not even spring time yet. And we car-loving Americans are still months away from the height of driving season.

Gasoline prices only have cents to go this week before overtaking $3.50 for a national average price of gas. It’s easily within reach. Three times in the past two years, pump prices have risen by more than 15 cents in a week.

This isn’t a matter of supply. That’s the good news. Oil is plentiful. While we still import most of our oil, more crude is pumped from wells on American soil or under American water than last year.

There’s also plenty of gasoline. But the bad news is we’re burning more of it. As February came to an end, Americans were consuming more than 9.1 million barrels of gasoline a day. That’s more than one gallon of gasoline for every person in the U.S. each day.

As spring break getaways approach and summer vacation plans take shape, we may be longing for the days of $3.50 per gallon gasoline very soon.

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