Gasoline prices rise for 24th dayNEW YORK (AP) - Gasoline prices climbed Friday for the 24th straight day as service stations pass along the rising cost of oil.

The national average for gasoline hit $3.741 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That's an increase of 46.5 cents per gallon since the start of 2012. Gasoline has never been so high this time of year, and analysts say it could reach a record of $4.25 per gallon by late April. Last year's peak price was $3.985 per gallon on May 4, and the record was $4.11 per gallon in July 2008.

Gasoline has surged as its primary component, oil, gets more expensive. Oil prices have climbed 10 percent since January on fears that world supplies could be reduced as the West confronts Iran over its nuclear program.

Iran, the world's third-largest oil exporter, faces a European embargo and other international sanctions as the West tries to force its nuclear facilities to open to inspectors. Some experts say Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, though the country denies it.

The recent jump in oil began to stall late this week. With prices near last year's highs, traders say they're increasingly worried about the consumer's ability to pay higher prices.

"These prices are beginning to bite," independent oil trader Jim Ritterbusch said. "We're at the point where people are getting concerned of further economic recovery, not just in the U.S. but much of the globe."

U.S. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude, which is used to price much of the oil produced in the Midwest, fell by $2.80 to $106.04 per barrel on Friday in New York. Brent crude, imported by many U.S. refineries that make gasoline, fell by $2.65 to $123.55 per barrel in London.

In other energy trading, heating oil 7 cents to $3.20 per gallon and gasoline futures fell 8 cents to $3.27 per gallon. Natural gas futures rose 2 cents to $2.48 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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chris1011

Republicans act as if we live in the Communist Soviet Union, where the central command set prices. Sorry conservatives, gas prices are high because it's a free market and corporations, speculators and demand are setting the price.

March 06 2012 at 4:20 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
freddyb

Send a thank you note to the epa, dept of enregy and BHO. They all want higher gas and utilitiy prices. so we can be more like failed Europe.

ABO

March 06 2012 at 12:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
freddyb

Send a thank you note to the epa, dept of enregy and BHO. They all want higher gas and utilitiy prices. so we can be more like failed Europe.

ABO

March 06 2012 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff

They can't do anything, they are own by lobbist/oil companies. We are not represented by whom we elect. There is NO reason for the rise in Stock prices or oil, simple we are screwed.

March 06 2012 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff

They can't do anything, they are own by lobbist/oil companies. We are not represented by whom we elect. There is NO reason for the rise in Stock prices or oil, simple we are screwed.

March 06 2012 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
maloontransllc

How about make them take delivery of what they purchase. Stop the gaming. Can thank Clinton for this system in place and then thank Obama for doing nothing to stop it... He has the power to do so but wont. Why ? he wants high prices for to justify going green. I think most Americans want green technoligies but do we have to loose our Jobs and homes to acomplish this and that is excactly what is going to happen. We in the trucking industry are seeing the economy slowing rapidly already just like last summer when they got crazy on us again.

March 06 2012 at 9:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
maloontransllc

How about make them take delivery of what they purchase. Stop the gaming. Can thank Clinton for this system in place and then thank Obama for doing nothing to stop it... He has the power to do so but wont. Why ? he wants high prices for to justify going green. I think most Americans want green technoligies but do we have to loose our Jobs and homes to acomplish this and that is excactly what is going to happen. We in the trucking industry are seeing the economy slowing rapidly already just like last summer when they got crazy on us again.

March 06 2012 at 9:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to maloontransllc's comment
bggdg

Speculators take delivery of a futures contract.

March 06 2012 at 11:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sagg1948

You want to stop this ripoff its simple raise the margin requirements for these traders and then see what happens.

March 06 2012 at 9:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sagg1948's comment
bggdg

Liquidity would decline, as would "price discovery"

March 06 2012 at 11:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
goobs150

I wonder why they never talk about how much the gas profit margin is at 3,72 dollars a gallon with a barrel of oil only at 106 dollars. In 2008 when gas was at 4.11, the price of a barrel of oil was 147 dollars a barrel. Besides the fact that for each penny that gas goes up it takes 1.4 billion dollars out of the economy. We know what the end result will be just like in 2008 when it all crashes again.

March 05 2012 at 10:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to goobs150's comment
bggdg

It's fairly easy to locate oil company profit margins, which in reality are below average:

http://seekingalpha.com/article/269679-oil-industry-profit-margin-ranks-fairly-low-there-are-bigger-fish

March 06 2012 at 9:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
goobs150

I wonder why they never talk about how much the gas profit margin is at 3,72 dollars a gallon with a barrel of oil only at 106 dollars. In 2008 when gas was at 4.11, the price of a barrel of oil was 147 dollars a barrel. Besides the fact that for each penny that gas goes up it takes 1.4 billion dollars out of the economy. We know what the end result will be just like in 2008 when it all crashes again.

March 05 2012 at 10:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply