PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – While gasoline in South Jersey costs about a nickel below the national average, prices in southeastern Pennsylvania have crossed the four-dollar mark — with the all-time record in sight.

The price at pumps in the Philadelphia five-county area has climbed nearly 90 cents per gallon since the beginning of the year.

Now, only that ultra-expensive summer of 2008 rivals what we’re paying for the average gallon of regular.

Rick Remington, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, agrees that it’s taking a big chunk out of our yearly budget.

“The impact on motorists is about $330 in added expenses when prices go up by this extent,” he said.

Some analysts forecast the cost of fuel to continue to rise in the weeks before Memorial Day; Remington says what happens after that rests on two factors:

“One is the instability in oil-producing regions — North Africa and the Middle East. Secondly, the investment money that’s been pouring into the purchase of gasoline futures, and that seems to be the main driver recently.”

Reported by Ian Bush, KYW Newsradio 1060

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