It's expected to be grand finale of the summer season in terms of high prices at the gas pumps. The cost per gallon of gas is expected to spike one last time before coming down again next weekend.

That's according to Tom Kloza, Chief Oil Analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. "We saw wholesale prices in the Northeast really shoot higher on the last few days of last week. That was a result of a combination of things. First, many barrels didn't come to this region from the Gulf Coast because of Hurricane Isaac and secondly, because of the fact that the summer spec for gasoline ends this coming weekend," said Kloza. "So, this should be the last 'hoorah,' but we'll probably see the highest prices of the year in the next few days."

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"Isaac knocked out about a million barrels a day of refining capacity, but not because it damaged anything, but because there were precautionary shutdowns. So, that kink is now moving up through the system," said Kloza. "Once we get to September 15, it'll be much easier to manage gasoline. You can put a lot cheaper ingredients into it and you can find it offshore. So, this lingering tightness, particularly on the East Coast right now, will probably fade during the second half of the month. But, over the next few days, don't be surprised to see some more increases and the highest prices we've seen since May 2011."

"We were just running through some numbers and wondering where prices might be on Election Day. Last year, we had the highest prices ever for an Election Day by a substantial margin. I think the country is probably looking at an over-under number of $3.50. So, we should move lower between next weekend and mid-November. The question is do we drop 20-cents, 30-cents, 40-cents or is it less than that?" said Kloza.

"As the summer driving season comes to an end and barring any significant disruption to oil production due to hurricane activity, AAA expects prices at the pump will decline during the last few months of the year as demand decreases and the switch to less expensive winter-blend gasoline begins," said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "After nearly three weeks of current day gas price records, this comes as welcome news for motorists looking for much needed relief at the pump."

So, what kind of prices can New Jerseyans expect at the pumps before the drop?

"Here in the Northeast and in New Jersey, I think we're talking about prices at or above $3.80 a gallon," said Kloza. "You might see the four-dollar numbers if you go into the city, whether it's Philadelphia or New York. But, here in New Jersey, we're probably looking at the highest prices of the year and that would be near $3.80 a gallon or more."

AAA has a variety of resources to help motorists save on fuel:

  • Fuel Price Finder ( locates the lowest fuel price in your area.
  • Fuel Cost Calculator ( helps budget travel expenses.
  • TripTik mobile ( plots fuel prices along your travel route.