Gas Prices Continue Sharp Climb

STATE – Gas prices are once again approaching the $4 per gallon mark, rising 46 cents over the past month according to AAA. This is the largest month-to-month increase since June 2009.

The national average price jumped 14 cents in just the past week, reaching $3.78 per gallon today, AAA reports.  New Jersey motorists are paying slightly less – $3.63 per gallon – but they still saw a 6 cent increase in the past week.

“State and local gas prices continue to rise from coast to coast and the national gas price average jumped double digits this week (14 cents), occurring weeks ahead of the typical late-winter run up in pump prices and at a much faster clip,” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “However, while the peak price this spring may approach the 2011 and 2012 highs ($3.98 on May 5 and $3.94 on April 5 and 6, respectively), AAA continues to expect the high to be lower than both years.”

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and AAA gas price partner, believes the national gas price average will peak at about $3.95 by early April.  “Whatever you pay on St. Patrick’s Day will be considerably more than you’ll pay on July 4 or Labor Day,” says Kloza.

According to AAA, the primary driver for the earlier than usual price increase is the trend of U.S. refineries performing seasonal maintenance and making the switch-over to summer blend gasoline production earlier in the year. Regional supplies can decrease when refineries go offline and subsequently markets are more sensitive during the changeover period to refinery disruptions that would further squeeze supply.

AAA offers several tools to help motorists save on the high price of gas.  Find the lowest gas prices in your area and calculate your fuel costs with AAA’s Fuel Price Finder and find ways to save money by conserving fuel with AAA’s Gas Watcher’s Guide AAA’s Gas Watcher’s Guide.  Motorists can also receive AAA Fuel Price Alerts with the lowest gas price and station information sent right to their phone by texting GAS ZIP (e.g., GAS 07065) to AAA411 (222411).

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