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Gas $3 a gallon for 1,000-plus days

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The national average price of gasoline surpassed $3 per gallon on Tuesday for the 1,000th consecutive day for the first time on record, reported AAA.

The current streak began on Dec. 23, 2010. AAA forecasts the national average will remain above $3 per gallon for at least another thousand days barring a major economic recession.

“Tennessee gas prices didn’t reach $3 a gallon on Feb. 18, 2011,” said Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman for The Auto Club Group.

“Prices [in Tennessee] have remained at or above $3 a gallon for 942 days,” Jenkins explained. “Although Tennessee motorists may get lucky and occasionally pay less than $3 per gallon in the future, $2 gas prices are mostly a thing of the past.”

This week’s national average is $3.52 per gallon, AAA reports.

Gas prices on average have remained above $3.50 per gallon for the majority of days during the current streak.

Gas prices first surged above $3 per gallon for eight days immediately following Hurricane Katrina, from Sept. 3-10, 2005.

The longest previous streak above $3 per gallon was for 244 days from Feb. 17-Oct.17, 2008.

The national average fell below $3 per gallon for 796 days from Oct. 18, 2008-Dec. 22, 2010, due to a weaker economy, which demands less gasoline and oil.

On Tuesday, the national average had remained above $3.25 per gallon for 265 consecutive days.

The national average price of gas so far this year is $3.57 per gallon. In Tennessee, it is $3.34, but this average should drop through December as demand declines during cooler months, AAA predicts.

Last year was the most expensive on record, with a national annual average of $3.60 per gallon and $3.40 in Tennessee.