After a three-month drop, gas prices are back on the rise around the United States.
Many stations in the Grand Forks area advertised $3.29 for a regular gallon of gas Wednesday. AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report said the city's average price for the day was $3.26 -- up from $3.06 one week ago.
Nine states in the central United States, including North Dakota, have seen double-digit price jumps in the past 11 days. Nebraska recorded the highest at a 17-cent increase on average.
Despite the increase, Grand Forks prices are about the same as they were this time last year. North Dakota's average gas price is $3.22, down 7 cents from a year ago, and the average national gas price of $3.39 is five cents lower than last year at this time.
AAA puts part of the blame for rising prices on recent refinery issues in the west, south and northeast regions of the United States.
GasBuddy.com, a website that keeps track of local gas prices by user submission, points to a jump in crude oil prices from $92 to about $100 a barrel in the wake of positive economic news as another factor in the increase.
The start of refinery maintenance season also is affecting prices, GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan said in a Monday news release.
"Refinery production has taken a hit in the last week as companies begin looking towards the summer driving season, utilizing this time of year for maintenance and any upgrades before gasoline demand races higher for the summer season," he said.
In addition, oil producer Hess announced Monday it will be closing its refinery in Port Reading, N.J., by the end of February. That refinery accounts for 7.5 percent of the region's oil production at about 70,000 barrels a day. AAA predicts its closure will further tighten oil supplies in the region.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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