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Spring elements and supply shortages continue pumping up gas prices

March 31st, 2014 1:19 pm by Staff Report

Spring elements and supply shortages continue pumping up gas prices

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Gas prices continue to increase in Northeast Tennessee, due in part to what AAA calls "typical spring factors," including refinery maintenance, increasing demand and the switch to summer-blend fuel.

Nationally, prices increased 2 cents in the past week, but increases were higher in the Tri Cities where the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.32, up from $3.24 just a week ago.

Multiple factors continue putting upward pressure on oil prices, which influence about two-thirds the price of gasoline across the country, AAA said. Consumer spending in the U.S. rose to the highest level in three months and continued conflict between Russia and the Ukraine heightens concerns of a supply disruption.

"Oil prices are expected to continue trending upward this week, which could mean more pennies per gallon at the pump," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA -- The Auto Club Group.

The most expensive prices in the southeast are found in Florida, according to AAA, where the average price is $3.63, 8 cents higher than the national average and 7 cents higher than last week.

"Florida motorists are seeing the highest gas prices since July," Jenkins said. "While Florida prices could continue inching up, they are still well below last year's peak of $3.88 and not expected to reach $4 a gallon."

Gas prices in Florida are increasing more than other states because of supply issues and strong demand, according to AAA. The Energy Information Administration states that gasoline consumption in Florida typically peaks in March, when seasonal population is high and spring break travelers and baseball fans arrive. This pattern differs from other states, where gasoline consumption typically peaks in July and August and is lowest during the winter months.

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