Pump alert: Tampa Bay gas prices jump 25 cents in a week

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AAA Northeast's weekly survey released Monday found that the average price of self-serve, regular is $2.53 per gallon.

Price-comparison website GasBuddy.com holds little good news for motorists who try to seek out bargains.

The Detroit-area's average fell about 3 cents to $2.75 per gallon.

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"If you use gas prices to figure out the time of year it is, you'd probably think it's spring based on the continued upward trend showing up in much of the country", said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. The national average has gone up 8.7 cents since a year ago and is also up 8.7 cents more than last month. And U.S. producers are pumping at a record rate, leading some experts to bet that the higher prices won't last long. Oil prices also are up to around $55-$60 a barrel. Thats when gas stations in an area uniformly raise prices. However, motorists should expect gas prices to linger at their current levels this week.

Isn't it interesting that gas prices never fall that fast following steep oil-price declines? The competitive stretch has featured the lowest gas prices in Broward so often, that we might as well rechristen it Gas Bargain Boulevard.

Its a phenomenon most notable in the Great Lakes region, where the price of gas can vary by several cents in a single day. DeHaan said Florida is still in the early stages of this, but he has increasingly noticed it in recent months. One day last week, for instance, Tampa Bay pump prices jumped by a dime in a single day.

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After reaching more than $2.95 per gallon at the start of the month, prices have dropped to about $2.88 per gallon in Chicago.

Even if prices remain high, Jenkins doubts it will affect consumers travel plans for the holiday.

"We're still in pretty good shape nationally, though, as Kansas has the 12th lowest state gas price average in the United States this week", Haugh said.

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