If you drive a lot, the last few months have seen you devoting a larger and larger share of your wallet into filling up the tank. From their recent lows in early November, prices at the pump have risen by over 15% to $3.67 per gallon according to AAA. Following that increase, gasoline prices are now at their highest level since late July.
While the recent increase in gas prices looks pretty painful, it is important to remember the seasonal patterns. Since 2004 for example, gasoline prices have been up on a year to date basis through 4/20 every year with an average increase of 19.5%. Viewed in that light, the 10.4% increase so far this year has been pretty tame. Looking ahead, the seasonal strength that we have seen so far in gas prices typically continues right up until Memorial Day, when the price levels out and begins to decline right after Labor Day.