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Gas Prices: Highest In Two Years

Last Updated Dec 23, 2010 9:59 AM EST

Just in time for the busy holiday driving season, the national average for a gallon of gas has crossed $3 for the first time in two years. According to AAA, this is a 10.9 percent increase since the summer and bad news for the 85 million people who plan to road trip during the holidays.

Don't be quick to blame your local filling station--the culprit is the economic recovery, which has spurred increased demand both domestically and in emerging economies like China. The resurgence in demand has impacted crude oil prices, which have breached the $90 level for the first time since October 2008.

Here are the other factors that impact the gas prices:

According to the US Department of Energy, this is the break-down of a $1 of gas at the pump:
  • Crude oil = 67 cents
  • Taxes = 15 cents
  • Distribution and Marketing = 11 cents
  • Refining = 7 cents
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    Jill Schlesinger, CFP®, is the Emmy-nominated, Business Analyst for CBS News. She covers the economy, markets, investing and anything else with a dollar sign on TV, radio (including her nationally syndicated radio show), the web and her blog, "Jill on Money." Prior to her second career at CBS, Jill spent 14 years as the co-owner and Chief Investment Officer for an independent investment advisory firm. She began her career as a self-employed options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York, following her graduation from Brown University.