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Keller @ Large: The Personal And Political Cost Of Rising Gas Prices

BOSTON (CBS) - With the weather finally warming up and the school year winding down, maybe you're among the many working out a budget for your summer vacation plans. If so, here's a friendly tip -- when it comes to the price of gas to get where you're going, better do your calculations in pencil.

Industry analysts predict the average family could pay more than $1,300 on gas this spring and summer, nearly $300 more than the average cost last year. Gas prices nationally are up 20 cents a gallon in the last month. Ten states have already passed the $3 a gallon mark. And while no one seems to think we'll approach the most recent high of $4.11 a gallon that we hit in 2008, the situation is fluid, pardon the pun.

Just consider why experts are saying this could be worse than the usual summertime gas-price bounce. They're worried about the impact of worsening relations with Iran and ongoing instability and violence in the Middle East. We may not be as reliant on oil from that region as we once were, but it could hurt us. The collapse of the Venezuelan oil industry is a potential problem too.

And then, there's this:

"With the economy moving along as strongly as it is - there's a lot more work - and with work comes a lot more transportation," Robert Sinclair of AAA told CBS News.

So this is really a good news story - or is it?

History shows that when gas prices soar, there's a political price to be paid by those in power. It's a cost of living few of us can avoid. Maybe the current price hikes will cause some overdue reflection on what our political leaders are - or aren't - doing to curb demand and stabilize supply.

Share your opinion with me via email at, or use Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

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