Gas Prices Sit at All-Time Highs for This Time of Year

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While the price at the pump has fluctuated in recent months—falling sharply one week, creeping back up the next—drivers are paying less for gas than they did in the spring and summer of 2011. They’re also paying much less than in the summer of 2008, when fillups cost record highs. Perhaps this is why it’s falling under the radar that the price for a gallon of gasoline is currently at an all-time high for this time of year.

Normally, in autumn and early winter, the price of gas follows the temperature patterns: Both tend to drop like clockwork, with the price of gas falling largely due to a parallel drop in consumer demand. At certain times this fall, gas prices have gone along with the trend; during one 30-day period, the average price dropped about 1¢ per day for a regular gallon of gas. But the price decline hasn’t been consistent. At other times, prices rose when they were predicted to drop, and remain higher than what experts had forecasted over the summer.

(GALLERY: Gas Stations Through the Years)

The national average for a gallon of regular sits at $3.41, about the same as it was both one week ago and in early October.

Drivers don’t seem all that outraged by the prices at the pump, however, perhaps because as recently as early September, the national average was over $3.60. Prices were even more expensive from late spring through summer. It seems like drivers are relieved to not be paying the prices of a few months ago, and it’s this relief that’s making it easy to overlook the fact that gas stations are charging more right now than they ever have at this time of year.

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The Los Angeles Times reports that, until now, the all-time-high price for a gallon of regular in mid-November was $3.11, hit in 2007. Prices are roughly 10% higher right now than the previous all-time high, and substantially more expensive than one year ago, when the average gallon of regular sold for $2.89.

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Experts have predicted that the average would dip to $3.25 or under by year’s end. Will that happen? The experts have been wrong before.

Brad Tuttle is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @bradrtuttle. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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