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By Jim Donovan

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Are you waiting for gas prices start to go to fill up at the pump?  Well you may want to come up with a different financial strategy.  As 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan finds, higher gas prices are not just a seasonal trend, they could be here to stay.  Some experts say you’ll need to adjust your budget long-term to accommodate the higher prices at the pump.

If it seems like every time you drive by your local gas station the price has increased, it probably has.  According to AAA Mid-Atlantic the average price of a gallon of self-serve regular is $3.67 right now.  That’s up 12 cents in just the past week.

In our region South Jersey drivers are paying the least at the pump, $3.58 a gallon.  Delaware and Pennsylvania drivers are paying the national average of $3.67.  But if you fill up in Philly or the four surrounding counties you shell out on average $3.74 for a gallon of regular.

It’s not just the summer driving season that’s revving up the price at the pump.  According to Patrick Dehaan, a Senior Petroleum Analyst for the website Gasbuddy.com, there are major contributing factors from both overseas and closer to home.  Among them he says are two things, “Geo-political tensions in the middle east where much of the U.S. crude oil comes from, as well as a decline in crude oil supply.”

The averages in at least three states have already surpassed the $4-dollar threshold but some drivers are paying much more than that. In face if you’re holding out hope that the lower prices of years past will make a comeback, Chris Plaushin, Federal Relations Director of AAA dished out a cold dose of reality this week on capitol hill. He says, “The days of a national pump price below $3 is probably a thing of the past”

So get ready to adjust your household budget.  In fact Gasbuddy.com expects the national average will rise another 30 cents by August.

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