EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Experts say because the economy is getting better there is a higher demand for gas, and that means higher prices per gallon.
Eau Claire has seen a big jump in gas prices. Just three weeks ago prices were at a little more than three dollars per gallon.
Now, gas is at more than three and a half dollars a gallon, and that's not the price people from Eau Claire are comfortable paying.
"I don't mind paying three dollars, that's ok; ideally less than three. But when it starts going up you're like, hmm, wait a minute,” said driver Barbara Krause.
"Eau Claire is usually above average it seems like, I don't know why that is? It's not like we're a rich community or anything. I think we are a decent middle class community and they can get away with charging that. I already live paycheck to paycheck and most of it because of gas and food prices in the last couple of years,” said driver Mike Stanton.
Gas prices usually go up a notch in the spring, but experts say a rise in prices this early could have happened because of a few different reasons.
"It's difficult to explain why it is so early. It could be because crude oil prices has jumped to a point we haven't seen since last year; It could be part because of refineries maintenance; it also could be because the Dow Jones, it’s doing so well,” said Senior Petroleum Analyst with gasbuddy.com, Patrick DeHaan.
The prices are expected to be in the upper three- dollar range by the end of February, and go even higher from there.
"This summer we could see prices floating very closely to four dollars a gallon. I would say in the upper three-dollar range, prices might even touch four dollars,” said DeHaan.
And, the sudden high price of fuel makes some folks consider different means of transportation.
“Motorcycle! Maybe a hybrid; something like that,” laughs Krause.
“Just today I came from a landlord’s house, trying to rent a new place two blocks from my shop, in case I have to walk to work or ride a bike. I'm just going to keep riding it until I can't afford it anymore,” said Stanton.
The good news is-experts say the rising prices will most likely take a short breather toward the end of February, before they continue rising again closer to summer.
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