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National average for gas hits 3-year high; SWFL lagging for now

Lee Herald Favicon 16Gas prices are at three-year highs on Monday as prices continue to rise thanks to springtime.

The national average Monday was $2.71 per gallon, up five cents in the last week, a price point that was just barely below the 2017 high. GasBuddy reports that Monday’s average was the highest that fuel has been in the United States in nearly 1,000 days.

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,” GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan said. “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, however, we’re likely in the closing innings of the seasonal rise- let’s just hope we don’t go to extra innings.”

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.

The American Automobile Association also believes that there isn’t much room left to run at the pump.

“Expensive crude oil prices, unrest in the Middle East, strong domestic demand, record production rates and global oil supply surplus have created the perfect storm to drive spring gas prices toward new heights,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Consumers can expect gas prices to increase another 5 to 10 cents this season, but the national average is not expected to reach the $3 mark.”

The increases seen around the nation haven’t yet made their way into Florida. The state average Monday was $2.63 per gallon, just two cents above last week – though up a dime in the last month.

In Naples, the average rose a penny to $2.66 per gallon, while Lee County dropped by fractions of a penny, with an average hovering around $2.57 per gallon.

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