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      $5 a gallon for gas could be coming to a gas station near you

      Picture taken 12-28-11 in West Columbia by Tyler Ryan at same gas station in West Columbia

      COLUMBIA (WACH)â??Gas in Columbia starts the year off 7 cents per gallon over last week, averaging $3.08 per gallon, according to gasoline price website .

      Even with the increase, prices in the Midlands are still well below the national average, which, with an increase of 2.4 cents, sits at $3.25 per gallon.

      Gas prices on Sunday were 17.5 cents higher than the same day last year, and 4.6 cents higher than a month ago. The national average, although 4.1 cents lower than last month, stand 20.9 cents higher than last year on January 1. Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan said that the increase in the new year has been a trend since 2008. Dehaan also points out that because prices start the year 20 cents higher than 2011, it could be an â??ugly year for motorists.â??

      According to, early indications show that gas prices may be the higest ever on record, coming close to the $5 per gallon mark if conflicts continue to hear up in Iran.

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