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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gas prices continue their seesaw ride. As of Monday, the national average dipped 2 cents from last week, but remained 10 cents higher than this time last year to hit $3.61 per gallon.
According to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, some Great Lakes states are beginning to see relief after experiencing sharp increases in retail gas prices over the past few weeks. Continued low supplies and transportation challenges for wholesale gasoline in the Chicago market -- particularly due to maintenance at the ExxonMobil refinery in Joliet, Ill., and the BP refinery in Whiting, Ind. -- drove the prices at the pump to near-record levels.
Both refineries returned to normal production levels last week and, as AAA predicted, things are easing for the area's motorists based on this week's prices.
Motorists in 26 states are paying more than one week ago, but none of these increases has eclipsed 6 cents. This compares to 10 states where prices have fallen at least 6 cents during the same period, led by declines of 15 cents or more in four Great Lakes states: Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.
However, as regional gasoline production and distribution concerns have eased and retail prices have inched lower, market watchers are now keeping an eye on escalating geopolitical tensions in Syria. While Syria is not a major oil producing nation, there is the risk that fighting might spread to other countries in the region, and this has kept some upward pressure on crude oil prices, AAA reported.