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Gas Price Analyst: 'This Will Be The Most Expensive Driving Season Since 2014'

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) -- Gas prices are on the rise again, just in time for the summer driving season.

The Oil Price Information Service says filling up this summer will be the most expensive since 2014.

The U.S. daily national average for regular gasoline is now $2.81 per gallon. That's up from about $2.39 per gallon a year ago. And across the U.S., 13 percent of gas stations are charging $3 per gallon or more, AAA said last week.

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The average cost to fill up in Pennsylvania is $3.02 per gallon, which is about 20 cents more than the national average. New Jersey drivers are paying $2.88, and in Delaware, gas prices are below the national average at $2.75.

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(credit: CBS3)

"This will be the most expensive driving season since 2014," said Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for Oil Price Information Service.

Experts say drivers can blame the pain at the pump on increasing crude oil prices.

They're at the highest level in three years and that's driving up gas prices.

Several factors have helped drive oil prices higher. A wave of global economic growth has driven up demand for oil. At the same time, production cutbacks initiated by OPEC last year have helped whittle down oil supplies.

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In the U.S., oil supplies were running 1.1 million barrels lower at the start of this summer's driving season, which runs from April through September, than a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

That has amplified the typical increase in gas prices seen this time of year. Pump prices normally rise as demand increases from families going on vacation and taking to the highways on road trips. Already, U.S. consumer demand for gasoline hit a record high for the month of April, according to the EIA.

Still, prices remain well off from 2008, when crude oil prices jumped above $130 per barrel and average retail gas prices surged to an all-time high of $4.11 per gallon.

"People forget very, very quickly," Kloza said, noting that the average U.S. gasoline price remains well below where they stood five years ago at $3.60 per gallon.

"We're seeing a higher price environment... but I don't think we're going to look at really apocalyptic numbers," he said.

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The EIA projects that the U.S. retail price for regular gasoline will average $2.74 per gallon this summer, up from an average of $2.41 per gallon a year earlier. Gas prices to rise each spring through Memorial Day and slowly decline as the summer goes along.

For all of 2018, the agency expects that the national retail price for all grades of gasoline will average $2.76 a gallon. That would translate into an additional $190 spent on fuel by the average U.S. household this year compared to last, the agency said.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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