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Gas prices on the rise

New Orleans, La. - If you've filled up your car lately, you may have experienced sticker shock at the pump.

AAA says average national gas prices rose 12 cents this past week alone, and they're only going to continue to climb.

New Orleans motorist Roy Simon says, "It made a big jump. I filled up week before last, went in to fill up again and said wow".

Simon isn't the only one feeling a pinch on his wallet this week. Taylor Horton adds, "They are going up and it's more than we should have to pay for, honestly."

According to AAA, the average national price of regular unleaded gas is $3.67 a gallon. That's 23 cents more expensive than this time last year.

Tulane professor Eric Smith explains why the prices are rising, saying, "Because of the inefficiencies in the pipeline system in the United States, there's been localized shortages built up and people have had to pay more for their crude."

In Louisiana, the state average is closer to $3.50 a gallon. Smith says the state has historically had some of the best gasoline prices in the country, But even though we may be faring better than other regions, the prices still aren't easy for many to swallow.

Driver Donna Bertucci says, "It is rather expensive so I do watch what, where I go and watch what I spend and try to run errands at the same time."

Political unrest in Egypt and summer demand for gas are also contributing to higher crude oil prices.

Smith says, if travelers stay off airlines as a way to save money, that'll also drive up the price of gasoline. "A lot of people are kind of discouraged from taking cross-country drives at the moment. But if you get a high level of vacation driving, you will see some higher prices than average over the next couple of months."

AAA also predicts prices will continue to rise in the coming weeks.

For Taylor Horton, that means limiting the amount of fishing he'll do.

"Between pulling the boat and putting gas in the truck and the boat, it all adds up. It's hard to do what you want to do," Horton said.

He and so many other drivers hope those prices will fall at the end of summer.

On the flip side, higher gas prices are good news for the Louisiana economy. Eric Smith says our refineries are running at higher utilization levels and the refineries are starting to export refined products like diesel again, all over the world.

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