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According to AAA: gas prices show the most dramatic increase since 2009

By Jamie Hicks
Published On: Feb 22 2013 05:48:32 PM CST
CRAVEN COUNTY -

If you need to fill up at the pump, you might want to do that soon.

According to AAA, the national average for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.78. That's 15 cents more than one week ago and 44 cents more than one month ago.

 In North Carolina, gas costs one penny higher than the national average at $3.79. That's 22 cents more than a week ago and 43 cents more than one month ago.

According to AAA this is the most dramatic national increase since June 2009.

This year’s increase is not only larger and faster than in recent years, but it's beginning earlier.

It even has many people cutting back just to save some extra money.

"I’m on the town about to buy some groceries and i have to limit what i buy to eat because i got to put gas in my car," said New Bern resident Robert Phillips.

The North Carolina AAA Public Relations Manager, Angela Daley, said the surge in gas prices is happening for two reasons, one because of higher crude oil prices.

Gas stations know they will be spending more on gas so they raise prices in order to make money. 

The second reason is there's also a seasonal impact that comes with refineries preparing to switch to summer-blend gasoline.

Daley said during the switch to summer-blend, refineries are not operating at full capacity, which tightens the supply causing prices on the east coast to go up.

Although Daley said don't put off your summer travel plans just yet.

"I don't expect us to continue increasing at this rate, what we usually see is gas prices start to head downward in April and into May," said Daley.

This time last year gas in North Carolina was $3.67, up 12 cents more than exactly one year ago.