The average price for a gallon of gas at a US pump was at a not-too-pretty $3.66 yesterday. The good news: That's significantly lower than the $4.11 all-time high hit in 2008. The bad news: We'll likely have 2008 beat when it comes to a stat that hurts more—the total amount spent on gasoline in a year. Americans are on track to fork over a record $491 billion in 2011, according to an oil analyst. Why? Increased exports and expensive oil quickly pushed fuel prices higher, and they've stayed higher for longer, explains the Los Angeles Times.
The glimmer of good news? "The 30 days between now and mid-October will be the most hospitable days in the country for dropping prices," explains the analyst. But he predicts that will be followed by gloom. "But then the drumbeats will start about fears of a second Arab Spring. Demand outside of Europe and the US continues to rise. By spring, Americans will be wrestling with $4 gasoline in a lot of markets." (Read more gasoline stories.)