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Gas prices are rising nationwide, reversing a long-standing trend

After an impressive downward run, gas prices have begun rising again.
[TImes file photo]
After an impressive downward run, gas prices have begun rising again. [TImes file photo]
Published Aug. 22, 2016

For the first time this summer, there's been a weekly rise in gas prices nationwide and a further upward push is expected.

The average rose to $2.17 per gallon, up 4 cents versus last Monday, according to gas price tracker GasBuddy.com.

Forty-four states, including Florida, saw average gas prices rise compared to a week ago.

As of late Monday afternoon, GasBuddy's live tracker showed the average unleaded price in Florida at $2.15, up about 7 cents from Sunday's average and about 8 cents from a week ago.

AAA likewise is reporting a nationwide and statewide increase in gas prices. From Sunday to Sunday, average prices in Florida rose a penny to $2.09, its survey of stations found.

Analysts have attributed much of the jump in gas prices — and oil prices — to anticipation that OPEC will lead a future production cut. OPEC and other key exporters plan to meet next month to discuss freezing output levels for a global market that has been oversaturated with oil.

"Gas prices are likely to get more expensive through the rest of the week as retail prices adjust to the oil price hike," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA — The Auto Club Group. "The weekly average for oil rose about $4, which could translate to a 10 cent hike at the pump. It usually takes a couple of weeks for retail prices to fully adjust to the oil price shift."

Gregg Laskoski, a senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy, noted that Gulf Coast wholesale gasoline prices are 12 cents per gallon higher than where they began last week.

Since peaking this year at $2.35 a gallon in February, gas prices in Florida had steadily fallen to reach the cheapest summertime driving costs in 11 years.

Despite the recent uptick, gas prices are still far lower than a year ago when the national average stood at $2.62 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.

Contact Jeff Harrington at jharrington@tampabay.com. Follow @JeffMHarrington.