Analysts: Gas prices may hit $5 per gal.

BALTIMORE - Baltimore area gas prices have risen more than 6 cents per gallon in the last week, and researchers say they may keep going all the way to almost $5.00 per gallon.

Prices are averaging $3.23 per gallon this week compared to the national average that has increased 2.4 cents per gallon in thE last week to $3.25 per gallon, according to .

Prices on Sunday were 18.4 cents per gallon higher than last year and 6.0 cents per gallon higher than last month.

"Average gasoline prices are moving up as we enter the New Year, a trend that has held since 2008," said Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan.

"The biggest problem with that trend holding true this year is that we're starting 2012 about 20 cents per gallon higher than 2011, breaking yet another high price record and setting up an ugly year for motorists," DeHaan said.

GasBuddy analysts are expected to release their 2012 projection in the next two weeks, but early indications shot this year may see the highest ever recorded prices at the pump, and has the potential to reach $5.00 per gallon if conflict arises in Iran.

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