Drivers brace for higher gas prices

The national average is 19.9 cents per gallon more expensive than last month and 31.9 cents per gallon higher than this time past year.

While gas prices in Southwest Florida remained flat over the week, the US average is higher than it has been in more than two years, AAA reported Monday. In fact, prices are nearly 18-cents higher than just a month ago.

DeHaan added that the usual annual peak for gas prices has been around mid-May, and that refinery maintenance and the annual switch to summer fuel blends has gone according to schedule, while inventory is rising, giving fewer reasons for prices to rise.

Gas prices continue to rise as prices went up 6 cents per gallon last week on Long Island, averaging $2.80 per gallon according to Gas Buddy, which tracks gas prices nationwide.

Chattanooga had Tennessee's cheapest gasoline on Monday at $2.46 a gallon. They also predict that gas prices could even climb higher after the weekend airstrikes performed by the United States and its allies France and the United Kingdom.

"Ultimately, (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) bears much of the responsibility for cutting oil production in 2017, leaving US oil inventories at far lower levels than a year ago".

Be prepared to pay more at the pump, AAA Western and Central New York reported Monday that the national gas price jumped five cents in a week with similar trends here in New York State.

"The seasonal surge at gas pumps is in full motion, causing the most dreaded time of year for fearful motorists, especially of what may still be coming", said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

Crude prices rose more than $5 last week, the largest weekly increase in more than eight months. As a result, gas prices at the pump have started what is expected to be a steep rise. With the national average gas price now at its highest since July 26, 2015, I can't immediately allay all fears of a continued spike in gas prices.

DeHaan said refinery maintenance has gone well so far, gasoline supply has continued to increase and the transition to summer gasoline supplies is nearly finished.

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