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The gas prices roller coaster should level in 2009

Gas prices aren't expected to take drivers on the wild ride that they did in 2008, experts predict.

They will likely climb and waver in 2009, though it's not clear how high they will go.

But prices should be more stable than 2008, when prices shot up to more than $4 a gallon during the summer.

Don Schunk, a research economist with Coastal Carolina University, said he expects gas prices to bounce between $1.50 to $2 a gallon.

If the economy does well, gas prices will rise, and vice versa - putting the Grand Strand in something of a Catch-22, said Carol Gifford, a spokeswoman for AAA Carolinas.

Local tourism promoters saw gas prices as the No. 1 impediment to consumer spending in 2008.