Consumers are finding that filling the gas tank can drain the holiday budget.

A little relief might be in sight, however, as crude oil prices backed off today from a new two-year high.

At the pump, gasoline has gone up 19 cents in the last month in Philadelphia and its four suburban counties, while South Jersey saw an 18-cent hike and the nation 12 cents, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

At many Pennsylvania stations, and some in Jersey, even a gallon of regular has climbed to $3 a gallon or more.

In Southeast Pennsylvania, the cheapest for regular is $2.97 a gallon at seven stations, and that includes three members-only BJ's Wholesale Clubs, according to

Premium was even up to $3.66 a gallon at a Sunoco at Ridge Avenue and 33d Street in the Strawberry Mansion section of the city.

In South Jersey, where gas taxes are lower, the range is from about $2.77 for regular to $3.49 at a Voorhees Shell.

Prices, though, are far short of the record highs of more than $4 a gallon that were reached in the summer of 2008, according to AAA.

Tuesday, crude hit $90.76 a barrel, the highest mark since October 2008, but profit-taking soon led the price to drop to $88.04.

Pump prices usually follow the cost of crude up and down.

The longer outlook isn't so promising, as some experts are forecasting that $100 a barrel could be hit next year.

Wary eyes are waiting to see what happens when OPEC, the oil-producing alliance, meets in Ecuador over the weekend, according to the Associated Press.