Prices for regular unleaded gasoline are up 12 cents on average in the past three weeks, according to the latest Lundbergh survey. They’re poised to go higher still this spring, likely breaking the $4 barrier for regular unleaded and holding steady through the summer months, according to many analysts.

The spike is a result of several factors, including uncertainty in the oil-rich Middle East , and some U.S. refineries being taken off-line for maintenance in advance of spring blending changes.

But regardless of the cause, one person takes an inordinate share of the blame anytime there is a spike in prices — the president of the United States.

Larry Saboto, political scientist at the University of Virginia, points to a chart that shows a remarkable correlation between a president’s unpopularity and high gasoline prices dating back to the Carter administration.

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