The national average price of gasoline at $2.74 per gallon is 28 cents higher that a month ago.
 - Photo by Vince Taroc.

The national average price of gasoline at $2.74 per gallon is 28 cents higher that a month ago.

Photo by Vince Taroc.

Unleaded gasoline has steadily increased in the past month to $2.74 per gallon, which is 28 cents higher that it was in early March mostly due to an increase in refinery maintenance, according to AAA.

The national average price increased 5 cents for the week of April 8. Gasoline is 5.1 cents higher than a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Overall refinery utilization stands at 86% compared to 93% at this time a year ago, due to unexpected and planned maintenance.

"Gas prices are increasing across the country, but these changes vary by region," said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. "On the week, motorists in the West Coast, Rockies, Great Lakes, and Central regions are seeing some of the largest weekly increases while prices mostly east of the Mississippi have made more moderate jumps."

States with the highest weekly increase in price include California (18 cents), Arizona (15 cents), Alaska (14 cents), Oregon (11 cents), Washington (11 cents), Montana (10 cents), Nevada (9 cents), North Carolina (9 cents), West Virginia (9 cents), and Ohio (9 cents).

States with the least expensive gasoline now include Mississippi ($2.44), Alabama ($2.44), Arkansas ($2.44), Louisiana ($2.45), South Carolina ($2.47), Missouri ($2.47), Texas ($2.48), Utah ($2.49), Virginia ($2.51), and Oklahoma ($2.51).

Fuel card provider WEX Inc. has helped its fleet clients navigate rising fuel prices in a few ways, said Bernie Kavanagh, senior vice president and general manager for large fleet.

"WEX certainly helps drive efficiency for businesses with exposure to fuel prices, with spending controls and GPS tracking and real-time fuel price information to name just a few things," Kavanagh said. "Our partners depend on us, especially during rising fuel prices."

Meanwhile, the average price of diesel fuel increased 1.5 cents to $3.093 per gallon, which is 5 cents higher than a year ago, according to the EIA.

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