Gas hit a record high of $3.18 yesterday, soaring past the previous all-time high, the inflation-adjusted 1981 price of $3.15 per gallon. A spate of fires and power outages have crippled the nation's refineries, sending prices soaring even as crude oil costs drop. That's turning consumers away from non-essential purchases like clothing and big-ticket items, CNNMoney reports.
Pain in the pocketbook won't keep Americans off the road this weekend, according to AAA, which anticipates a record number of Memorial Day weekend motorists. And prices still aren't high enough to push automakers to develop technologies that make SUVs more fuel-efficient, BusinessWeek reports. More likely, purchasing patterns will shift away from the gas-guzzlers.