Those stubbornly high gas prices might seem like a house guest who overstays his welcome come January.

Drivers in many states already pay at least $3 a gallon for regular and analysts don’t expect any relief soon. That’s because crude oil has hovered between $83 and $89 a barrel since Thanksgiving.

The national average for regular gasoline was $2.98 a gallon Monday, according to the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration. That’s about the same as a week ago and more than a dime higher than a month ago. A year ago the average was $2.59 a gallon.

In major cities, average pump prices range from $3.29 a gallon in San Francisco to $2.72 in Denver. In Maine, the average pump price is $3.10 a gallon, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. That’s about the same as a week ago, 10 cents higher than a month ago and 43 cents higher than a year ago.

A new study by PortiaGroup with data supplied by the Oil Price Information Service finds the average U.S. household will spend about $305 on gasoline this December, up almost 14 percent from last December and 76 percent more than December 2008. Gasoline is taking a bigger bite of median household income this year: 7.4 percent, compared with 6.5 percent last year and 4.2 percent two years ago, the study says.

Energy analyst Jim Ritterbusch believes the national average for a gallon of regular will range between $2.90 a gallon and $3.07 a gallon through February.

“We’re going to see comparatively high prices here for a while,” he said. “We’ve seen a stronger-than-expected economy and that tends to augur toward stronger gasoline prices, unfortunately, despite the fact that unemployment is still high.”

Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at OPIS, expects prices to fall during the winter and then begin to climb again. He has forecast prices between $3.25 and $3.75 a gallon from March to May, barring an unforeseen global economic issue. Pump prices could exceed $4 a gallon again in some states for the peak driving season if oil prices continue to climb.

And oil prices climbed again Monday, as China’s thirst for energy showed little sign of being quenched. Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Gill, said China’s oil demand in November hit an all-time high of 9.3 million barrels per day.