CBNNews.com - WASHINGTON - Americans are spending a record amount of their hard-earned money at the gas pump as gas prices hit a national average of more than $4.00 a gallon.
And get ready, because analysts say they're going to keep going higher -- possibly to $4.50 by the Fourth of July.
It's a record no driver wanted to see.
On Sunday, the national average for a gallon of regular crossed the $4.00 mark from $3.98 the night before.
"I think this is crazy. It's unbelievable," said one driver.
Another exclaimed, "This is ridiculous! Over $4.00 a gallon? That's ridiculous! It really is."
The poorly-timed peak coincides with the busy summer travel season, and analysts expect prices to keep on rising.
"It's cost me a hundred plus to make the round trip, so it's a little pricey." One driver said. "But with four people you have to drive instead of fly in for a day trip."
The $4.00 milestone comes after a sweep of bad economic news: There's been a surge in unemployment which sparked a dramatic drop in the stock market Friday, with the Dow off nearly 400 points. And a spike in crude oil prices was compounded by a weak dollar.
Crude had its biggest two-day price gain in history, skyrocketing more than 13 percent late last week, fueled by soaring demand in China and India.
One the home front, demand is actually falling -- but not enough to put a dent in the market.
The pain at the pump is even worse for truckers driving on diesel. And their pain is your pain, beyond what you pay to fill up.
"Men, women, children and families are suffering from this kind of nonsense and it's not just the gas," said one disgruntled consumer. "You go to the grocery stores and, you know, everything you buy from vegetables and eggs and so forth, sky high. This is ridiculous!"
OPEC Not Helping
Don't look for OPEC to start pumping out more oil either to cut the price. OPEC ministers say oil spikes are being driven by speculation, and there's no need for them to increase supply.
The best bargains in the U.C. can be found in Missouri, South Carolina and Oklahoma, where people are paying between $3.80 and $3.85 for a gallon of regular.
California has seen some of the highest prices. A gallon there now averages $4.436 a gallon, the most in the country.
But at the same time gas taxes in some states are also going up, right at the height of the summer driving season.
And as far as prices go, analysts say the outlook doesn't look good.
"If oil prices stay where they are, we'll be at $4.50 by July 4," Mark Zandi, Chief Economist for Moody's Economy.com, said.
As some analysts predict the national average will hit $4.15 by the end of this week, gas-guzzling consumer nations seem to be facing the new reality of finding new technology and conservation methods rather than relying on OPEC to pump more oil into the market.