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2012 could be the most expensive year for gas, accoridng to report

Tommy Tate's friends poke fun at him for driving a black Mercedes Smart Car. Its small size and rounded front more resembles a shoe than a vehicle, they've said.

But the Baltimore resident who drives to Carroll County at least two times a week for band rehearsals is rewarded at the gas pump. The car gets about 45 miles per gallon, and with a AAA Mid-Atlantic report released Friday projecting 2012 to possibly be the highest year for gas prices, he said he's made the right choice for his pocketbook.

"I don't know how people can drive these big SUVs at this point and fill up $70, $80 a week," he said, while filling up at Royal Farms in Westminster.

Gas price increases last week shattered a more than 100-day streak of remaining below last year's price tag. Rates dropped steadily in June, leading some analysts to the conclusion that gas would be $3 per gallon this fall. But that trend has reversed, with some saying it could reach $4 per gallon before dropping in the fall, according to Friday's AAA Mid-Atlantic Weekend Gas Watch press release.

"The outlook for the next few weeks is grim in terms of prices at the pump," Christine Sarames Delise, a spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said in the release. "This is typically a time when prices start a downward trend, as long driving vacations decrease and kids are back in school, however recent trends have been anything but typical so it may very well be a wait and see as autumn approaches."

Filling up at a tank at a Carroll County station cost about $3.59 per gallon Friday, with some stations even higher, according to the Times' website listing daily gas prices.

Baltimore was just four cents shy of the national average, which was $3.72. Gas prices were 14 cents higher Friday than the same day last year, according to the report.

It cost the most for Americans to go to the gas station last year than any other year in recorded history, the report said. With the atypical late summer increase, this year could be even more expensive, according the release.

The report attributed the recent increase to continued conflict in Syria, contention between Israel and Iran - the latter which is a major oil provider but has seen exports decrease because of embargoes - and a diminishing supply from several oil refineries.

Brenda Carr filled up her navy blue Chevrolet Blazer at the Royal Farms in Westminster Friday in anticipation of her commute to work. She travels to White Marsh six days a week.

It's taxing, but the Finksburg resident would rather pay the gas prices of a 40 minute commute to be in close proximity to her family.

"There's nothing we can do about it," she said. "It is what it is."

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