High gas prices will hit Labor Day travelers hard this year after the month of August sees near record price increases.
National average gas prices increased 30.8 cents or 8.75 percent a gallon in August.
This was the largest monthly price increase since April 2011 and the second highest increase for the month of August in AAA's records, which date to 2000.
"It has been a really tough summer for drivers nationwide with high gas prices breaking daily records," said Avery Ash, AAA spokesperson. "Every week there seems to be something new driving up gas prices, whether it is a major refinery fire, a pipeline closure or a Gulf Coast hurricane."
Gas prices in August increased steadily from a low of $3.51 a gallon on August 1 to a high of $3.82 a gallon on August 31.
This was largest August price increase since 2005, when prices increased 33.5 cents a gallon and this price spike comes immediately following the largest price increase for the month of July.
Prices have increased 53 out of 60 days after reaching a summertime low of $3.33 a gallon on July 2.
The national average price of gasoline has increased about 11 cents a gallon since forecasters began predicting that Isaac could move towards the Gulf Coast.
The three main factors driving gasoline prices in August included:
AAA predicts that the national average price of gasoline for Labor Day this year will be the highest ever for the holiday.
However, AAA predicts that as summer comes to a close prices for gasoline should begin to steadily decline.
Prices should drop in September as Gulf Coast refineries closed by Hurricane Isaac resume operations, as gasoline demand decreases following the end of the summer driving season and as refineries transition to the production of less-expensive winter-blend fuels.
These price drops will come too late for those with plans to travel this Labor Day.
"People traveling this Labor Day are going to face the most expensive pump prices we have ever seen for this time of year," continued Ash. "While prices should drop in September barring any major developments, we expect gasoline to remain at or near-record highs through the end of 2012."