The Energy Department is predicting a summer of record gas prices. Regular gas will average as much as $3.60 a gallon, although the national average price could spike as high as $4 a gallon at times, according to government analysts. Regular gasoline now costs 11.9 cents more than in the last few months and 56 cents more than a year ago. Mid-grade gasoline sells for $3.69 a gallon, and premium sells for $3.79. Retail diesel is up 2.1 cents to $4.066, which also sets a new record.

The record prices will likely reduce summer gasoline demand for the first time in 17 years, according to the government's energy forecasting agency. The Energy Information Agency cautioned that gasoline prices in some parts of the country will cross the $4 per gallon threshold.

As of press time, the most expensive gallon of gasoline in the country was already above the $4 mark in Needles, California at $4.29. The least expensive gallon was found in Spartanburg, South Carolina for $2.94.

Shop Shout-Outs
Kreative Body Werks
Detroit, Michigan
(586) 601-4493

Adios Joe
Isuzu is giving up on the U.S. passenger vehicle market after 28 years and will stop selling new SUVs and light pickup trucks after January 31, 2009.

Isuzu plans to focus on more profitable commercial truck sales in the U.S. The decision gives dealers for Isuzu Motors America Inc. a year to clear inventories of five-seat Ascender SUV and small Isuzu pickup trucks, which are both made by GM. The company said quitting the U.S. passenger vehicle market would cost about $37 million in the next two years, including fees to franchised dealers.

Isuzu's pickups and SUVs have a reputation for dependability and are less expensive than the competition. However, when the company stopped selling cars in 1993 and offered only trucks and SUVs, the U.S. sales dropped below 100,000 units for the first time since 1984.

The decision to leave the U.S. passenger vehicle market was based partly on the two models Isuzu currently sells in the U.S., the Ascender SUV and the i-series pickup, will no longer be made and the company has no plans to design a new vehicle.

Browsin' Around
Public.fotki.com/lordmodelbuilder/mini_truckin - A look back as to what minitruckin' started as, it just might surprise you.

Fast 411
Toyota Motor Corp. beat General Motors Corp. in '08 first-quarter sales by 159,000 vehicles, challenging the U.S. automaker's 77-year reign as the global leader.