Gasoline prices are poised to turn in a record annual average pricein 2012, as drivers faced their own fiscal cliff at the pump.
"Gasprices in 2012 are likely to be the most expensive ever on an annualbasis," Michael Green of the American Automobile Association said in aninterview with MarketWatch.
With just over a month to go, thenational average in 2012 is $3.63 a gallon, outpacing 2011's annualrecord of $3.51, Green said.
That's in spite of the fact that it has cost less to fill up in recent weeks. The average price of a gallon of gas in November is on track to be the lowest month since July, Green noted.
Gasprices have pinched consumer wallets already this year, and now theyface tax increases and government spending cuts in 2013 unless Congressand President Obama can forge a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff" before year-end.
Pricesare down from a high of $3.93 a gallon in April. Thursday's nationalaverage of $3.41 a gallon is 11 cents more than it was a year ago on thesame date, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
Nationwide,gas prices on average have dropped 46 cents since Sept. 14, one dayahead of the annual transition to winter-blend gasoline through much ofthe USA.
In 2012, the national average price of gasoline hasbroken a daily record high 100 straight days and for 214 days, or 64%,so far this year, Green said.