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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. motorists are paying the highest prices to fill up since March 2013. However, relief is likely to come soon.
According to the AAA Monthly Gas Price Report for April, the national average price of gas this week reached a high of $3.70 per gallon, which was the most expensive price since March 20, 2013. Gas prices have increased an average of 42 cents per gallon, or 13 percent, since early February, with the national average up 76 out of 82 days.
"Drivers can't seem to catch a break with gas prices rising nearly every day since February," said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. "Spring is generally the worst time of year to fill up the car, and high gas prices are hard on people hoping to take advantage of the warmer weather."
The national average at the pump increased about 14 cents per gallon in April, which was the largest increase for the month since 2011. Gas prices have increased primarily due to relatively tight supplies caused by significant refinery maintenance, the regulated switchover to summer-blend gasoline and rising springtime demand, according to the report.
Gas prices averaged $3.64 per gallon in April. In comparison, gas prices averaged $3.55 per gallon in April 2013, $3.89 per gallon in April 2012 and $3.79 per gallon in April 2011.
Relief, however, is on the way. According to AAA, the national average price of gas is likely at or very near its peak for the spring. In addition, prices are expected to remain less expensive than last year's high of $3.79 per gallon. AAA predicts that gas prices should decline in advance of the summer driving season as the refinery maintenance season ends and gasoline production increases.
"It is possible that gas prices may rise somewhat higher in the coming days, but a little relief should be in sight," Ash said. "With any luck, most of us will pay lower gas prices by the time everyone hits the road for Memorial Day."
Taking a look at gas prices by state, motorists in 49 states are paying more at the pump than a month ago -- Colorado is the only exception.
The five states with the highest average prices today are Hawaii ($4.38), California ($4.26), Connecticut ($3.95), New York ($3.92) and Alaska ($3.90). The five states with the lowest average prices are Montana ($3.38), Missouri ($3.44), New Mexico ($3.46), Oklahoma ($3.46) and Arkansas ($3.47), according to the AAA report.
Approximately 9 percent of U.S. stations are selling gas for more than $4 per gallon today, while 74 percent of stations are priced higher than $3.50 per gallon, AAA added.