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National gas prices have increased more over the first two months of 2013 than in any other year on record, according to AAA.
The national average price of regular grade gasoline fell slightly to $3.77 as of Friday, but overall, the national average price increased by 49 cents per gallon between January 1 and February 28 ($3.29 per gallon to $3.78 per gallon).
"Gas prices increased at a dramatically faster pace than expected in February,” said John B. Townsend, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Motorists unfortunately are paying more for gasoline than ever at this time of year."
Locally, prices in the District of Columbia were well above the national average this past week, with a gallon of gas costing an average price of $3.99. Gas prices in the entire Metro area averaged $3.81, thanks in large part to much lower prices in Virginia (state average: $3.66, down from $3.70 last week). The average price in Maryland also came down slightly over the previous week, moving from $3.78 to $3.74.
Unlike in previous years, when high gas prices have been attributed to high crude oil prices, AAA attributed this winter's price rises to increased refinery maintenance and other issues, which has resulted in less production.
"There is a lot of uncertainty on where gas prices will go over the next few weeks and there is still refinery maintenance to be completed and most of the country must transition to summer-blend gasoline, so motorists are likely to face continued high prices in the weeks ahead," Townsend said. "But hopefully the worst of the price spikes are behind us for now.”