The national average for a gallon of regular grade gasoline hit $3.76 yesterday, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge report. That’s up from $3.64 a week ago, and $3.54 a month ago. This time last year, the average price was $2.86.

There’s still some room before we get to an all time high though. The record was set in July of 2008, when it reached $4.11 per gallon. However, right now gas is at the highest price it has been since October 2008, which is when the US economy took a serious downturn (there was also a banking crises going on at that time).

After hitting the high in 2008, the national average price for regular gas took a steep dive, going down as low as $1.61 for a brief time in 2009. It then climbed back up to $2.61 by the early summer of that year. From there it stayed mostly under $3.00 until close to the end of 2010. Since the start of 2011, its been on an ever steepening rise.

According to Public Affairs Specialist Jana L. Tidwell, from AAA Mid-Atlantic, there is some hope that we won’t break the high record this year.

“Pain at the pump continues to affect motorists and has begun to curb demand during what is typically the start of the peak driving season,” Tidwell said. “Prices jumped 12 cents this week alone and 67 cents or 22 percent since the first of the year. Although we remain cautiously optimistic that prices will retreat without crossing the $4.00 a gallon threshold, the longer high gas prices are sustained the more far-reaching the affects will be on overall U.S. economic recovery.”