NEW YORK -- Gasoline prices are the highest they've been all year, averaging $2.70 a gallon.
That could turn out to have an effect on consumer spending as the holidays approach, with billions of dollars that could go to books, clothes and Barbie dolls instead being spent at the pump.
Rising gas prices add bad news to an already fragile economy and make it less likely that people will spend their way out of the recession.
Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service, says even if prices average $2.50 per gallon during the November to January period, Americans will pay an extra $26.6 billion for gas.
Wendy Liebmann, who monitors shopping habits through her company, WSL Strategic Retail, says people make a "clear emotional connection" between the price of gas and how much they spend on other things.
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