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Steady climb to $5: Gas prices spike again Saturday

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Dan McCaleb | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – The average price of a gallon of gasoline is making a steady march toward $5, a threshold nine states already have breached.

Overnight, gas prices spiked another six cents nationwide, according to AAA. American motorists are paying on average $4.82 a gallon as of Saturday. A week ago, the average was $4.60, but prices have only risen every day since then.

Motorists in nine states – Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Washington – are now paying more than $5 a gallon.

If recent trends continue – and there's no reason to think they won't – several other states will join the $5 club soon, including Indiana, Pennsylvania, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and others.

A month ago, the average cost of a gallon of gas across the U.S. was $4.23. A year ago, it was $3.05. Prices have risen $1.77 a gallon on average since then.

Diesel gas prices also hit a new record Saturday, reaching a national average price of $5.62. Rising energy costs are in part driving 40-year-high inflation, where the cost of everything, from food to clothing to other household items are rising.

As gas prices rise, consumer consumption is dropping. Consumption has declined at a rate of 3 percent to 5 percent the past seven weeks, according to DataTrek, suggesting that the high costs are affecting consumer's behavior.