The nation's average gasoline price has increased 20 cents since the beginning of 2019.
 - Photo by Vince Taroc.

The nation's average gasoline price has increased 20 cents since the beginning of 2019.

Photo by Vince Taroc.

The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline increased 3 cents to $2.42 in the past year, and is now 20 cents higher than the start of the year, which is the largest January-February increase in four years, according to AAA.

The steady increase in pump prices in February was at least partly due to unplanned maintenance at several refineries and an increase in crude oil prices, said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.

"Pump prices have been pushed higher this week due to reduced gasoline stock levels and increased demand," Casselano said. "Motorists can expect gas prices to continue to increase as refineries gear up for spring gasoline production and maintenance season."

The March 4 price level is 17 cents higher than a month ago and 10 cents cheaper than a year ago.

States with the largest weekly increases included Florida (up 13 cents), Alabama (up 11 cents), Mississippi (up 8 cents), Louisiana (up 8 cents), Kansas (up 6 cents), South Dakota (up 6 cents), Texas (up 5 cents), North Dakota (up 5 cents), Colorado (up 5 cents), and Michigan (up 5 cents).

Meanwhile, the average price of diesel increased 2.8 cents to $3.076 from a week ago. It's now 8.4 cents higher than a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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