Gasoline prices are poised to set records in the next few weeks. The reasons include, but go well beyond, last week's blackout in the Northeast, according to USA Today. The power outage disrupted production of 500,000 barrels of gas a day at four U.S. and four Canadian refineries, according to the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS). That's a loss of roughly 5 percent of the 9.2 million barrels of gas U.S. drivers use daily, USA Today said. A gallon of regular averages $1.627 nationwide, the Energy Information Administration reported August 18. That could jump 10 to 15 cents, the EIA and industry analysts say, tying or breaking the record $1.728 set in mid-March. Fires, breakdowns and storm damage at California refineries in July and earlier this month already had begun boosting prices nationwide, according to USA Today. West Coast gas distributors, nervous about supplies, are paying record wholesale prices. Also pushing gas prices up, according to USA Today: - Strong demand - Pent-up price increases - Political turmoil