DAVID KOENIG - AP Business Writer

DALLAS (AP) -- Gasoline is closing in on $5 a gallon nationwide for the first time ever. That's according to AAA.

The auto club said the national average for a gallon of regular hit $4.97 on Thursday.

High gas prices are another drain on the wallets of consumers who are paying more for many other essentials too.

Gas prices are up a quarter in just the last week and up $1.90 from where they were a year ago.

Pump prices have been rising steadily for months, as global oil prices rise and demand for gas increases.

Prices range from an average $6.40 a gallon in California to $4.41 in Georgia.

Americans aren’t the only ones paying more to fill up. This week, gasoline prices in the United Kingdom hit a record 182.3 pence ($2.30) per liter, or about $8.80 per gallon.