Raleigh, N.C. — The average gas price is the U.S. has risen 54 cents per gallon since the Fourth of July holiday weekend, thanks largely to hurricane-turned-Tropical Storm Isaac. The average price of gas in North Carolina was $3.81 Friday.
The wide storm closed several refineries along the Gulf Coast, and others were operating at reduced rates.
The national average price of a gallon of gas jumped almost 5 cents Wednesday to $3.80, the highest ever for that date. Prices are expected to continue to climb through Labor Day weekend, the end of the summer driving season.
Despite the pain at the pump, many drivers WRAL News spoke with Friday said they're still putting the pedal to the metal this weekend.
"We planned this trip before the prices went up," said Chapel Hill traveler Dean Sutton, who put $100 worth of gas in his Ford F-150 truck and still had room for more gas in the tank.
Driving from New Jersey to Florida and back is setting Jose Garcia about about $320 in gas.
"It didn't deter me from traveling," Garcia said. "Once a year, what the heck?"
Many travelers see the weekend as their last chance to get their final beach trip in.
Brian Marsh is traveling with his children from the suburbs of Washington, D.C, to Myrtle Beach, S.C..
"Last hurrah before the kids go back to school and we get back to maintaining our steady lives of maintaining these children," Marsh said.
Some states in the Midwest suffered even more dramatic spikes than North Carolina. Ohio prices jumped 14 cents, Indiana prices soared 13 cents and Illinois prices jumped 10 cents on Wednesday alone, according to the Oil Price Information Service.
As Isaac fades away, the summer driving season ends and refiners switch to cheaper winter blends of gasoline, stations owners should start dropping prices.
"Two weeks from now, they'll be down," said traveler Dave Lukens. "It's just crazy."
When Katrina hit in 2005, the national average for gas spiked 40 cents in six days and topped $3 per gallon for the first time.