The price of gasoline in Minnesota has topped $3 a gallon, the highest it's been since 2008. And it will most likely continue to climb into 2011. But experts say the steady climb in gas prices hasn't curtailed people's driving so far.
The website Minnesota Gas Prices lists the average price per gallon at $3.02, which is near the national average.
Minnesota hit the $3 mark right on Christmas Eve, according to AAA.
A spokesman for the automobile association, Gene LeDoucer in Fargo, says the uptick in gas prices this time of year is unusual. And the trend doesn't bode well for 2011.
"We're actually on the increase during December at a time period when we see gas prices go down," said LeDoucer. "It's not usually until March or April when we see an increases in prices. The fact that we're seeing it this early really concerns us, as to what summer might bring us."
LeDoucer says gas prices will continue to rise over the next couple of weeks, and could spike at $3.50 next summer. Jason Toews, the co-founder of the Minnesota Gas Prices website, says they could reach closer to $4 a gallon by then.
Gas and crude oil prices have been going up based on increased global demand -- and a limited supply.
At a gas station in downtown St. Paul Tuesday, customer Laura McGuire filled up her Chevy Astro van -- which she says gets between 15-18 miles per gallon. She says it's handy for making deliveries as a florist, or hauling her kids and grandkids around.
But McGuire says she may have to change her driving habits if gas prices continue to climb.
"I may think about taking the bus, or riding my bike, or carpooling," she said.
But many motorists don't seem as fazed at the pump as they did when gas prices were this high in 2005.
"At the time, everybody was talking about boycotting gas stations, and everybody was super upset about the high gas prices and then they went down," said Jason Toews. "What's happened is every year from 2005 to 2008, they got progressively higher and higher. People got de-sensitized to the gas prices. So now $3 a gallon doesn't seem like the pain that it did in 2005."
Depending on how high gas prices go next summer, though, that all might change.