Like the rest of us, John Giandonato isn't happy about rising gasoline prices.
"We're the largest producer in the world of oil, and the distribution is incredible," the Schaumburg resident said Thursday as he fueled up at a station that was selling regular unleaded for $3.09 a gallon. "I don't know why we're paying so much in taxes on the fuel that we get."
A month ago, the average price of gas in the Chicago metropolitan area was $2.59 a gallon, according to AAA Chicago. The average price crossed the $3 mark this week and was $3.02 on Thursday.
"It's not ideal," Elle Cartabiano of Naperville said as she pumped gas into her truck. "I'm not going any long distances."
Dharmesh Dhakkr, the co-manager of the Mobil station at Algonquin and Higgins roads in Elk Grove Village, said the higher prices have customers buying less gas.
"Customers are asking why gas prices are up," Dhakkr said.
AAA spokeswoman Beth Mosher said gas prices usually rise this time of year. Here is what she said about what's happening now:
Q. Why are prices going up?
A. "We've seen gas prices steadily rise throughout the month of March. They have risen almost 40 cents over the past month. It's pretty typical for this time of year as refineries are switching over to a summer blend of gasoline. There's a lot of maintenance that goes into that, and it pushes prices higher."
Q. What will happen to gas prices as we head into summer?
A. "We're going to start to see prices maybe level off a bit. We're not going to continue to see these steep increases as we head into the summer. The switch over to the summer blend will be done within the next couple of weeks or so. We will continue to see demand rise throughout the summer. Trends tell us that usually around mid-July is when gas prices start to fall a little bit again."
Q. Do you expect prices to reach $4 a gallon?
A. "It's really too soon to tell. But there are no expectations at this point in time for gas to hit $4, barring something very unforeseen."
Q. How has gas consumption changed over the past few years?
A. "Supply and demand really fluctuates. It fluctuates by time of year. Certainly, when gas prices are lower, people say, 'Let's take more road trips.' So it really fluctuates."
• Daily Herald staff photographers Joe Lewnard, Paul Valade and Bev Horne contributed to this report