Today is the first day of March Madness- the largest college basketball tournament in America- so its high time we check out how maddening gas prices are so far in 2013.

While the year started off with a strong drive to the hoop (of oil companies and market players), with the national average climbing over 30 consecutive days, the subs have come in and the game has gotten much slower pace. Since the national average hit an early year peak of $3.74/gal on February 26, it has fallen to today's level of $3.658, much lower than last year when prices were in a significant upward trend at $3.85 and rising. Doing the math, today's national average is nearly 20 cents per gallon under a year ago.

However, the rally in prices in 2013 started much earlier than in 2012, so where do things currently stand for a YTD average? Well, 2012 still takes the cake. The figures:

1/1 through 3/21 of 2013: $3.508/gallon
1/1 through 3/21 of 2012: $3.515/gallon
Entire year average 2012: $3.601/gallon

While the YTD average is under last year's average (and just barely), the 2012 trend will continue to mean that the disparity grows and 2013 looks more attractive over the next few weeks.

TIMEOUT! Now's also a good time for a forecast check up. Our 2013 was released in early January and outlined prices for 2013. Here's where we stand:
We said Jan. median price average: $3.29/gal. Actual? $3.287.
We said Feb. median price average: $3.39/gal. Actual? $3.624.
We said Mar. median price average: $3.67/gal. Current $3.679.

All in all, it was difficult to predict such an early rally in gasoline prices, but we did pretty well in January and are shaping up to have called March pretty well, too.

Cliff notes: through the first three-ish months, we saw a large spike in prices, but the national average has been lassoed and is currently under control. There may be another small rally in gasoline prices in mid-April through early May, so don't think we're out of the woods yet.