Fewer drivers, high unemployment, but gas prices still climb

It is a phenomenon that has perplexed even energy experts. There are fewer drivers on U.S. roads, Americans have cut back spending -- including gasoline purchases -- and unemployment is nearing 10 percent. And yet, the price of gasoline continues to rise heading into summer.

Gasoline prices have risen for 41 days in a row, to a national average of about $2.62 per gallon, The New York Timesreported Tuesday. In the fall 2008, gas prices hit an average low of $1.61 per gallon. That's a whopping 61 percent increase -- an enormous rise, even in a healthy, robust U.S economy, let along one that's (hopefully) bottoming amid its worst recession in more than 25 years.