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      2012 gas prices may hit record highs

      COLUMBIA (WACH)â?? A â??cause for concern,â?? are the words of GasBuddy.comâ??s Senior Petroleum Analyst Gregg Laskoski, citing the fact that the trend for the last 7 years the average peak for gas prices has been between $.93 and $1.31 per gallon over the average January 1 price.

      Laskoski says that 2011 is a good example, when gas prices closed out 2010 with a national average of $3.05 a gallon, reaching a peak in 2011 of $3.96 per gallon.

      GasBuddy.comâ??s Patrick DeHaan says that with the annual summertime rise in gas prices, if national prices donâ??t move closer to the $3 per gallon mark, gas could be over $4 per gallon by spring.

      According to ColumbiaGasPrices.com, the average price of gas in Columbia on January 1 was $3.08 per gallon.

      Columbia average "start price" to peak retail gasoline prices:

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      2007:Start Price: $2.15/g on 1/1/2007Peak Price: $3.01/g on 5/21/2007Difference: 86.8 cents per gallon

      2008:Start Price: $2.90/g on 1/1/2008Peak Price: $4.20/g on 9/14/2008Difference: 130.6 cents per gallon

      2009:Start Price: $1.40/g on 1/1/2009Peak Price: $2.55/g on 6/13/2009Difference: 115.4 cents per gallon

      2010:Start Price: $2.45/g on 1/1/2010Peak Price: $2.91/g on 12/29/2010Difference: 46.0 cents per gallon

      2011:Start Price: $2.90/g on 1/1/2011Peak Price: $3.74/g on 5/5/2011Difference: 84.3 cents per gallon

      DeHaan did point out that past performance is no indication of future prices.

      If you want to find the cheapest gas in your area, simply click on the Pain at the Pump link.