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Gas prices inch up as travel season nears
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If you’re planning a road trip anytime soon, you may want to add some extra padding to your fuel budget.

According to experts, fuel prices could continue to climb in upcoming weeks as many motorists begin traveling for spring break and summer vacations.

“It’s very possible that we may see $3 (per gallon) prices sooner rather than later,” said Jessica Brady, AAA Club South public relations manager. “Certain parts of the market may see higher prices than others, especially if the price of crude oil continues to increase.”

The price of crude oil was $84 last week, increased from $80 two weeks ago.

“We will most likely see crude oil stay above $80 a barrel for quite some time, causing retail gasoline prices to steadily increase into the summer,” Brady said.

In the last week, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Georgia increased to $2.73 from $2.70. The price a month ago was $2.65 and a year ago was $1.93. Nationally, the average price for a gallon of regular fuel is $2.83.

Locally, gas prices range from about $2.65 to $2.70.

In addition to the increase in the price of crude oil, other factors influence the cost of fuel, experts say. According to Brady, a reported increase in manufacturing jobs and production in the United States, China, Europe and Japan is being viewed by investors as “evidence of a rebound in international trade,” which is helping to drive up the cost of materials, including gasoline.

Another factor is the industry shift from winter-blend to summer-blend gasoline.

“Typically during mid-March, refineries start to switch over to the summer-blend,” Brady said.

“It’s more costly to produce the summer-blend because of the extra additives that have to be added because of emissions standards. ... So that is another factor that influences prices.”

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