Gas Prices Jump in North Texas

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gas prices are well above $3 per gallon -- how long do experts say prices will stay this high and what can you do to save money? (Published Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013)

    North Texans are feeling the pinch at their local gasoline pumps.

    Alice Spratling of Dallas said the latest increase in prices is "terrible."

    "[It] makes me do less driving, I go back and forth to work," Spratling said. "It's very bad and the economy's not getting any better."

    NBC 5 found gas prices are $3.45 at a Shell station at Riverfront and Continental and $3.43 at the 7-Eleven/Exxon across the street in Dallas. Fuel City on Riverfront was situated at $3.31 a gallon.

    CNBC's Sharon Epperson said the spring rally in gas prices has come earlier than usual this year.

    "We have refineries down in a number of locations, oil prices are rising," Epperson explained. " And then we have a supply shortage in California so inventories are being diverted from elsewhere in the country to help out with that."

    Mike Davis, professor at SMU's Cox School of Business, agrees and predicts there will not be another spike this big, in 2013.

    "Right now, on the West Coast there are some really major refineries down for maintenance so that's putting pressure on prices there which tend to trickle across the country." He explained. "Long term the sort of smart money is betting gas prices will stay relatively constant through 2013."

    Meanwhile, the price hike is hitting Americans right where it hurts, their wallets. The United States Energy Information Administration says the average household spend $2,912 on gas in 2012 -- just under 4-percent of their income before taxes.

    With the exception of 2008, that was the highest in nearly 30-years. Analysts already say gas is at it's highest price ever for early February, but there might be hope.

    "I think this is just a temporary blip that we see in prices. 2013, at least in my book, still expected to be lower, at least for a yearly average, than what we saw in 2012."

    Until the relief comes at the pump, some North Texans had a simple idea to save on gas costs.

    "I'm going to have to drive less," James Allen of Fort Worth said. "I'm going to have to park it."

    NBC 5's Greg Janda and Ray Villeda contributed to this report.