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Gas prices at the pump approach March’s record peak

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Gas prices at the pump approach March's record peak
The price for a gallon of gasoline surpasses $5 per gallon at a Manhattan gas station in New York City on March 7. The national average for gas prices at the pump has risen to just a penny shy of the record high set on March 11 because of the rising cost of crude oil and increased demand. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

May 9 (UPI) — The national average price of gas at the pump has risen to just a penny shy of the record high set on March 11 because of the rising cost of crude oil and increased demand.

In the past two weeks, gas prices have jumped an average of 20 cents to $4.32 per gallon, according to data from AAA on Monday. That price is up $1.36 from the same time last year.

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As an example of how the rising costs are impacting drivers, the cost to fill the 8.5-gallon tank of a Scion iQ subcompact car from empty would have cost a total of about $25.16 at the $2.962 per gallon rate last year. The same car would cost $36.79 at Monday’s national average, an increase of more than $11.

The Ford Super Duty pickup, which has a massive 48-gallon fuel tank, would have cost $142.18 to fill from empty a year ago but would now cost $207.74 to fill from empty at the current national average, for an increase of more than $65 each fill-up.

The largest price increases this week were seen in Michigan, which jumped 26 cents, and New Jersey, which jumped 25 cents. Prices increased 19 cents in Connecticut, Kentucky, Indiana and Rhode Island.

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The most expensive markets to get gas are California at $5.82 per gallon, Hawaii at $5.28 per gallon and Nevada at $5.11 per gallon. The cheapest market was Georgia with an average of $3.84 per gallon.

AAA cited data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which shows that the total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by 2.2 million barrels to 228.6 million barrels last week while demand increased slightly from 8.74 million barrels a day to 8.86 million barrels a day.

West Texas Intermediate crude, a global benchmark, ended trading last week at nearly $110 per barrel but prices dropped in the early hours of trading Monday to hover just below $104 per barrel.

Prices reached their highest point, $4.33 per gallon, in March — but prices came down a bit following policy moves by President Joe Biden, including a waiver that will allow stations to sell gasoline this summer with a 15% ethanol blend, which will give drivers better fuel efficiency.

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