Drivers beware: Today's high gasoline prices soon may look like a bargain, because they're expected to peak at $3.60 a gallon nationwide in coming months, according to a government report released Tuesday.
In the latest bit of bad news for cash-strapped consumers, the Energy Information Administration predicted that average gasoline prices will shoot up to $3.60 a gallon in June and average $3.54 per gallon over the summer driving period, an increase of 60 cents a gallon over last summer.
It's entirely possible, EIA Administrator Guy Caruso said, that gasoline prices could top $4 a gallon during parts of the summer driving period, defined as April 1 to Sept. 30.
High-price states such as California, where gasoline cost 32 cents per gallon above the national average in March, are pulling up the national average, the EIA said.
Breaking down the average projected prices, the EIA chief said the West Coast was likely to see an average price of $3.78 per gallon of unleaded gasoline over the summer driving period. That's followed by the Rocky Mountain states at $3.53 a gallon, the Midwest and East Coast at $3.50 a gallon and the Gulf Coast states, closer to the production of much domestic oil, with the lowest average price, $3.41 per gallon.