WASHINGTON – Gas prices continued to rise this week, with the average nationwide price for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline hitting $3.82 per gallon. This is six cents up from last week, 21 cents more than a month ago, and 16 cents more than on Sept. 4, 2011. A total of eight states, including California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Washington have average gasoline prices higher than $4.00 per gallon.

The avearage price of gasoline for the month of August hit $3.62 per gallon, six cents higher than the price on August 31, 2011. AAA stated that the average price of gasoline in 2012 is on track to be the highest annual average ever.

Although prices have been on the rise recently due to Hurricane Isaac and related refinery shutdowns, AAA said it still expects prices to drop due to refineries switching to less-expensive winter-blend gasoline, the summer driving season ending, and hurricane season ending. 

For the sake of comparison, gas prices in September fell in five out of the previous ten years, having declined an average of 7.4 cents in September since 2002. The five-year average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.07 per gallon. The drop, of course, will likely occur barring any unforeseen geopolitical events or supply disruptions, AAA stated.

The price for West Texas Intermediate oil has stayed below $100 per barrel, at $92.25 on the NYMEX. Mixed economic reports and the restart of refining operations after Hurricane Isaac hit the Gulf Coast are contributing to lower oil prices, according to AAA.