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TODAY   |  February 15, 2012

Pump pain: Gas prices back on the rise

Gas prices are back on the rise, and some analysts say it could get even worse before the summer driving season. NBC’s John Yang reports.

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>> some troubling news. gas prices are back on the rise and some analysts say it could get even worse just in time for the summer driving season. nbc's john yang is in chicago with the details on this. good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, matt. we're all used to gas prices going up in springtime when the driving season is about to approach, but this year the increase is happening sooner and it is going up more than before. experts say a combination of things -- tensions in the middle east , big refineries on the east coast shutting down, big demand for gas in asia sent gas prices up 13 cents in the last month alone. national average for a gallon of unleaded, $3.51. on the north side of chicago it's $3.99 a gallon. in big cities like chicago it's higher than the national average. at city scents floral and homes in chicago , sending a sign of your love just got more expensive thanks to the cost of filling up the delivery truck at the gas station .

>> it cuts into our bottom line . $95 a couple times a week hits you in the pocket.

>> reporter: owner theresa montana tried to hold the line but last month had to raise the delivery fee by a dollar.

>> we have tried not to pass it on to customers. it's a hard time for everyone.

>> reporter: just another way americans' big pain at the pump is touching lives. in chicago where aaa averages $3.57 a gallon.

>> everything is going up except the paychecks.

>> reporter: in charlotte, north carolina , $3.64.

>> it trickles down. you have less money for everything else.

>> reporter: in los angeles , $3.88.

>> it hurts. tough economy right now. every dollar counts.

>> might be time to invest in a bicycle.

>> reporter: analysts say prices are only headed higher. gas buddy.com predicts the national average of $3.95 by memorial day . higher in big cities . in atlanta, $4.60. $4.70 in los angeles . in chicago , $4.95, the highest in the continental united states . are we headed for record territory this summer, do you think?

>> we could get there. we're already about 35 cents ahead of where we were last year when prices peaked at $3.98.

>> reporter: so the sticker shock at the pump may get worse.

>> other ways i would rather spend my money but it's a necessity.

>> reporter: theresa is trying to keep costs down so her customers can have one of life's little pleasures.

>> it's sad. everyone likes receiving flowers.

>> reporter: fasten your seat belts. forecasters say $5 a gallon by summer is not out of the question. matt?

>> john yang in chicago . thank