Gas Prices Continue To Rise - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Gas Prices Continue To Rise

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PHILADELPHIA -

Gas prices climbed steadily over the last 46 days to reach a national average of $3.78 per gallon.

This is three cents higher than last year's average and the highest average price ever recorded for this time of year, according to a report by AAA Mid-Atlantic.

The report said that the average gas price has been rising since the beginning of the year, when the price was $3.29 per gallon.

The reason for this rise is a decline in refinery production, a spokesperson for AAA said. Many refineries decreased production early this year for seasonal maintenance and upgrades, which has reduced gasoline supplies and driven the price higher.

Anticipation for the switch to summer-blend gasoline is also a factor in rising prices, according to the report. This required transition happens every year to help meet local quality air standards. The summer-blend costs more to produce and has a more difficult distribution process.

These price hikes have come despite a drop in the price of crude oil, which is $14 less per barrel than a year ago.

According to the report, the national gas price average has increased in March for the last nine years in a row. The seasonal supply and demand factors at this time of year have a significant effect on prices.

Nearly 20 percent of Americans live in states with an average gas price over $4 a gallon, and three percent live in states with averages under $3.50, AAA reported. Hawaii has the highest average price of gas right now at $4.37 per gallon, and Wyoming and Montana have the lowest at $3.29.

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