WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The national average gas price reached $3.52 per gallon as of March 17, its highest price in more than six months, according to the latest AAA Fuel Gauge Report. This is 3 cents higher than one week ago and 18 cents higher than one month ago, but 17 cents less than the same date one year ago.
Additionally, the average pump price increased 37 of the last 38 days and increased 13 percent during this timeframe.
AAA expects the national average gas price to peak between $3.55 and $3.75 per gallon in late March or early April due to seasonal refinery maintenance and the upcoming switch to summer-blend gas, which must be carried out by May 1. Previous yearly peaks occurred on May 5 at $3.98 per gallon in 2011; on April 5 at $3.94 per gallon in 2012; and on Feb. 27 at $3.79 per gallon in 2013, the year with the earliest peak on record.
Prices rose in nearly every state over the last week, led by a 9-cent increase in Washington, D.C. In 10 states, prices jumped at least 5 cents, with Florida and Oregon seeing 9-cent increases. Both coasts, especially the East Coast, were subject to upward pressure from limited ethanol supplies caused by logistical challenges, AAA said.
Despite these recent increases, average gas prices in all states in the continental U.S. remain below $4 per gallon. The highest prices are in California ($3.96), the Northeast (New York: $3.77; Connecticut: $3.77; and Maine: $3.64) and the Great Lakes states (Illinois: $3.74; Michigan: $3.73; Indiana: $3.68; and Ohio: $3.65). Drivers in Hawaii continue to pay the most at the pump, with an average price of $4.18 per gallon of regular gas.