Recent unrest in Russia is one factor that will continue to send gas prices up.
According to AAA, gas prices are currently the highest they’ve been in more than six months since September.
In September, the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded peaked at $3.59 and, as of Sunday, the average price nationally was $3.52.
“Prices usually peak in the spring,” said AAA Auto Club Group spokesman Mark Jenkins. “It would not be a surprise to see a continued upward trend throughout the next 30 days.”
This time three years ago, the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded peaked in May at $3.98 and two years ago the peak price was $3.94 in April. In February of last year the peak price was $3.78 per gallon.
According to AAA, historically prices in March have risen 22 cents in 2011 and 19 cents in 2012, though last year prices fell 13 cents throughout March after an “unusual” February peak.
AAA said the causes that are to blame for the price hike include typical spring factors, like seasonal maintenance and the fuel blend switch. Demand also becomes a factor in the increase due to Spring Break and daylight savings time, which give people an extra hour to run errands and be out and about.
“Although we haven’t seen gas prices spike yet, motorists should still expect them to rise well into spring,” Jenkins said. “At this point, there are several factors that have placed upward pressure on oil prices in addition to seasonal maintenance and jump in demand.”
Oil prices was also influenced by factors including a report from the International Energy Agency, which calls for higher-than-expected global oil demand based on economic growth.
According to AAA, the United States and European Union threatening sanctions against Russia also has the oil market nervous. Current geopolitical tensions in Russia have the market concerned about a possible supply disruption at a time when fuel demand picks up globally.
Last week, a barrel of oil closed at $102.58 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, which is one cent more than the week before.
This Sunday’s national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline at $3.52 rose three cents from last week. It is also up 18 cents from a month ago, but is down 17 cents from a year ago.
Tennessee’s gas price increases fall in the middle of surrounding states as Florida’s average of $3.54 per gallon rose eight cents from last week, Georgia’s average of $3.34 rose two cents and Tennessee’s average of $3.27 rose five cents.
Though Tennessee’s gas prices have risen five cents in a week and 11 cents from a month ago, the current average of $3.27 per gallon is still down 24 cents from a year ago when the average was $3.51, the lowest average between Tennessee, Florida and Georgia and 18 cents lower than last year’s national average of $3.69.
According to AAA state averages, Tennessee remains in the bottom category for lowest average retail prices with Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Montana, Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia and South Carolina. States like California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Maine and Alaska are the most expensive on average.
As far as the Nashville metro area, AAA reports prices for the current average for a gallon of regular is $3.26, down from a year ago when it was $3.54.