Now that the wrapping is cleaned up, the gifts opened, families heading home, there's one last nugget to be aware of: the national average is beginning to move higher.

It's happened six out of the last seven years: the national average has risen between Christmas Day and January 15, and this year there's no reason to believe now that this won't happen again.

Why? Sometimes its simply hard to find a culprit. This year oil inventories are booming, gasoline inventories have risen sharply in the past few weeks, and the holiday retail season, which feeds the bulls, has been lackluster after all the financial cliff talk.

During a typical year end, refineries work down their inventories for tax purposes, putting upward pressure on retail gasoline prices, but so far- we haven't seen the EIA weekly report support this movement.

Regardless, motorists across the country will see rising prices in the days ahead, so keep that in mind. 2012 will easily finish as the year with the highest average price ever. Not the best way to close out the year, nor the best to start a new year.