The U.S. national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has hit its highest level ever for any September date. While the national average has fallen slightly from $3.873 on the 13th, it remains near its highest level ever for any previous date in September.

Back in 2008, gasoline prices were high, but only managed to hit a high of $3.83/gal for the month, solidifying GasBuddy's claim in January that 2012 would likely close with the highest average price ever.

Currently, through today, the national average for 2012 stands at $3.63/gal while 2011 finished with a yearly average of $3.51/gal. 2012's national average may close with a 2012 average of $3.60-$3.75 per gallon, nearly 10-20c/gal higher than 2011, costing Americans driving a passenger vehicle 15,000 miles a year an average of $75 more this year in gasoline, while costing SUV owners getting 17 miles per gallon combined $106 more this year than last.

If Americans were paying prices that we saw in late Autumn 2008 when prices dropped under $2/gal they'd be saving over $20-$35 per fillup, which, on a yearly basis would add up to over $1000 in savings yearly.

Gasoline prices are expected to fall from their current levels, but it may be late-September or early-October before notable relief is felt. It is still highly likely that 2012 will indeed set a yearly gas price average, higher than anything we've previously seen.