LI gas prices continue to climb

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At $2.71, national gas prices are at their most expensive point in almost three years and continue to climb. The cost is 25.1 cents a gallon more than a month ago and 33.2 cents more than the same time a year ago.

"Motorists should expect a 15 cent increase at the pump in the short term", said Mark Jenkins, spokesman at AAA in Tampa. According to GasBuddy, prices in Colorado rose a little over six cents in the last week.

Today's national gas price average is $2.71, which is up 5 cents in the last week, up 18 cents in the last month and 30 cents higher than this time a year ago.

The national average has increased 17.7 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 30.1 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago. The EIA's weekly retail report for Chicago shows "regular" prices sitting at $2.807.

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The most expensive were the Crestview-Fort Walton Beach ($2.80), Pensacola ($2.77) and West Palm Beach-Boca Raton ($2.76) regions. That's a 14% jump, up from $2.41 a gallon past year.

Oil prices edged higher last week following new concerns about tension in the Middle East, with military strikes against Syria.

Even though Syria has not exported oil since civil war broke out in 2011, the country receives fuel deliveries from Iran. The OPEC and non-OPEC production cut agreement is eliminating the global oil supply glut that led to lower prices in recent years, AAA said. "However, higher oil prices have also enticed US producers to ramp up crude oil exports, effectively draining USA oil inventories at a higher pace than that oil is being replaced", he 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". Prices traditionally start their seasonal rise in mid-February as refiners begin maintenance that enables them to transition to producing more expensive summer-blend gasoline.

Stephanie Milani with AAA Tennessee says gasoline prices have risen about 6 cents in the past week, but a much sharper rise in pump prices is just ahead.

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