(Rick Bowmer/AP)

The winter doldrums traditionally provide a respite from higher gas prices as people hunker down in the weeks between the holiday season and spring break.

“Despite weak demand, prices at the pump have been on the rise at a time when they typically see a seasonal drop,” said John B. Townsend of the American Automobile Association. “According to some analysts, speculation surrounding events in the Middle East, coupled with Northeast refinery closings, will steadily push gas prices up in the coming weeks and months, perhaps as much as 60 cents through the spring.”

Research by AAA and its affiliates who track gas prices showed the average price for regular octane gas in the Washington region was $3.61, after crude oil closed on Friday at $98.67 a barrel, up $12.67 from a year ago.

Using current local gas prices, median state incomes and data on average miles traveled, the AAA extrapolated that the average Virginia household will use 122.4 gallons of gasoline this month, spending $428.40, or about 8.7 percent of their monthly income.

The average Maryland household will use 96.1 gallons of gasoline during the month, spending $344.99, about 6 percent of monthly income. In the District, the average household will use 28.7 gallons of gasoline, spending $107.59, about 1.7 percent of income.