The price of gasoline has hit a new record high, averaging $3.07 for a gallon of self-serve regular in the United States, a survey reported Sunday.
When inflation is factored in, the new price trails the all-time high in March 1981. At the time, gasoline cost $1.35 a gallon -- in today's dollars, that's $3.13 a gallon, said Trilby Lundberg, publisher of the Lundberg Survey.
The survey, which took into account the prices at thousands of gas stations nationwide on May 4, found a 19-cent jump from the previous survey two weeks earlier.
Last month there was "substantial evidence" that gas prices would fall, but a series of "incidents" at a dozen refineries worldwide led the price to reverse course, Lundberg said.
In some cases, refineries began scheduled maintenance, but in other cases they experienced accidents that led some to shut down entirely and others to limit their capacity, she said.
Also, demand for gasoline grows at this time of year as Americans drive more in the warmer weather, she said.
This is important news for one reason: consumer spending is the backbone of this economy and the only thing holding the economy above recessionary levels.