Gasoline prices spikeBy SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
Gasoline prices have skyrocketed in the new year, with prices at the cheapest stations nearly 40 cents higher than they were in late December.
The late December dip below $3 was short lived, and predictions that prices would only rise slightly didn't pan out.
The state average was $3.463 on Tuesday. Prices jumped 14 cents in a week, according to AAA's www.fuelgaugereport.com website. A week ago, the state average was $3.322. That was actually down a bit from a month ago, when the average was $3.324
Prices are still lower than they were a year ago — when the state average was $3.494.
The national average was $3.533 on Tuesday, up from $3.364 a week ago and $3.299 a month ago.
"The national average has ticked higher in the last week, as rising oil prices have put upward pressure on gasoline prices," said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for gasbuddy.com . "Unfortunately for angry motorists, there doesn't seem to be much relief in sight, at least for the time being, as retail prices continue to climb in virtually all areas of the country."
A positive economic outlook, supply issues, refinery maintenance and preparation for the summer fuel switch helped push oil prices closer to $100 a barrel last week, said Jessica Brady of AAA, The Auto Club Group, which tracks gas prices.
"Refineries have started to prepare for maintenance season and the switch from winter to summer grade gasoline. Refinery output has already seen a reduction. In addition, positive economic news has led to an increase in oil prices which also translates to higher prices at the pump," Brady said.