NEW INFORMATION: Eau Claire gas prices as high as $4.19

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The price of gas has hit a historic high in Eau Claire.

A sign at a Holiday station in Eau Claire read $4.19 per gallon on Friday. Several other stations in town are selling gas for $4.14 per gallon.

The previous record high price for gas in Eau Claire was $4.09 in the summer of 2008.

A Super America store in Menomonie sold gas for $4.29 per gallon on Friday.

MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Outrageous. Unbelievable. Terrible.

Those are the words some drivers used on Thursday to describe the recent hike in gas prices.

"Pure gouge, that's all there is too it is pure gouge," said Jerry Gossett.

Some drivers in Menomonie got their first taste at what it feels like to pay more than $4 for a gallon of gas. Some were lucky enough to find relief at stations that had not yet raised prices, like the Cenex on Stout Road, which was selling gas for $3.97 per gallon across from a Super America that was selling it for $4.24.

"First time I've ever seen it that high," said Tom Johnson.

The sudden jump in price caught drivers we talked to by surprise. But analysts say there has been a lot brewing that drove us to this point.

"We're coming into the summer driving season when people tend to drive more and when you have these other problems in the petroleum system, it causes prices to escalate," said Erin Roth with the Wisconsin-Minnesota Petroleum Council.

He says the three biggest causes of the price increase are high crude oil prices, which make up 70% of what you pay at the pump.

Also, we have just switched to the summer blend of gasoline which is in tighter supply.

And several refineries are undergoing maintenance or construction projects. An analyst at tells us the ones affecting us are in Tulsa and Kansas.

"I'm afraid now they are not gonna go back down under $4, that's my fear," said Sue Halama.

The good news: Roth says we can expect prices to go back down in the next few weeks.

Planning on hitting the road anytime soon? The price hike may not impact your travel as much as you may think. If you are driving a car that gets 25 miles per gallon, and with prices increasing about 25 cents per gallon, here is the extra cost to drive from Eau Claire to these destinations:

Green Bay-$2.78

If only you could run a car on soda. Ironically, based on the sign at Super America and a little math, that would only cost $2.76 versus $4.24.

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