Pump pain returns

Democracy comes at a price. Today it’s about $3.29. That’s the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the Twin Cities today, a 16 cent jump in the last 48 hours and it’s going to go higher.

Today, oil prices raced past the $100 a barrel, the highest price for oil in two years. At the heart of it is fear that the democratic wave spreading throughout the Middle East will increasingly affect oil supplies. In other words, everyone’s quietly wondering if Saudi Arabia is next.

Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service, told CBS that he expects a peak of between $3.25 and $3.75 per gallon of gasoline, a prediction that already seems outdated.

There’s a lot more than the price of oil that goes into the price of a gallon of gasoline, but when one goes up, the other seems to go up immediately, too. The last time crude oil went over $100 was September 2008. People here in the Midwest were paying $3.94 a gallon for gasoline then.

It seems pretty clear we’re going to get to $4 a gallon soon, but that may be at the conservative end of things. Other analysts predict $5 a gallon.

In either case, we’re back to the days of figuring out how to scrimp our way to another fill-up, What’s your pain threshold?