gas fuel

A combination of high crude prices, refinery shutdowns, and early speculation has sent gas prices soaring to seasonal highs earlier than usual this year, with no signs of prices at the pump falling until spring, according to recent estimates.

Gas prices have climbed every day for the past 25 days, reaching a national average of $3.59 per gallon Monday, the most expensive national average ever for Feb. 11, according to AAA.

During just the past two weeks, average prices have climbed almost 25 cents, the biggest jump in gas prices in almost a year.

“This is a very early rise,” says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. “January has tended to be a quiet month through the years, but the rally really began in earnest around Jan. 15.”

Gas prices tend to increase in late February as refineries shut down for maintenance ahead of the busy summer driving season.

There are three reasons for the spike, say analysts.