Gas prices hit four-year highs, AAA says

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Motor club AAA reports a national average retail price of $2.54 per gallon for Tuesday, a slight increase from the previous day and about 10 cents per gallon, or 4 percent, higher than one month ago.

AAA fuel analyst Don Redman says high gas prices at the start of the new year may lead to an increase in prices through 2018.

In Iowa, the average price for a gallon of gas is a little more expensive at $2.54 per gallon. However, this story so far this year has been a rally in oil prices. USA producers are using higher petroleum prices to grow global market share, which AAA pointed out is evidenced by crude exports growing to 1.25 million b/d last week. Every other state in the region are paying one to five cents more at the pump for a gallon of regular gasoline compared to last Monday.

"However, there is still lingering hope that US oil production will ramp up sooner than later, which would boost inventories and push energy prices lower", Jenkins said.

According to AAA, the first three weeks of every year since 2014, gas prices have gone down.

Oil prices dipped after EIA's latest petroleum revealed domestic crude production in the USA continues to grow.

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Gas prices increased for 41 states with Florida seeing the largest jump at the pump with a 9-cent increase, AAA said, while the federal Energy Information Administration reported that demand for gasoline decreased only slightly.

During the next few months, Jenkins said, refineries will reduce output as they conduct maintenance on their equipment and switch to summer-blend gasoline.

Saudi Arabia has produced as much as 10.5 million barrels per day, but that rate has dropped below 10 million, due to the recent OPEC production cut agreement.

At the close of Friday's formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate dropped 58 cents to settle at $63.37.

The nation's cheapest market is Texas, where gas is is $2.29 per gallon, followed by Missouri and Alabama at $2.30, MS at $2.31, SC at $2.32, Arkansas at $2.32, Arizona at $2.34, New Mexico at $2.35, Oklahoma at $2.35 and Tennessee at $2.36.

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