The psychological price-point of $4 a gallon is looming straight ahead, and will likely be hit before the end of the week, based on the rate of recent price escalation.

The national average price of self-serve regular today is $3.967 a gallon, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Survey. That's nearly a dime a gallon more than seven days ago.

Already, motorists in many parts of the country are paying well in excess of $4 a gallon. For example, the average price of gas has hit an all time high in Chicago, $4.39 a gallon. The average price is over $4 a gallon now in 14 states; Alaska, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.