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Demand, State Taxes Bump Up Gas Prices

Pump prices rose in most states this past week as demand caught up with supply, pushing the national average for regular gas to $2.26, up 2 cents from a week ago, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

Prices started to rise after the long Independence Day weekend, when millions more motorists than usual took extended trips for the holiday. That drained inventories of crude oil and gasoline, and prices rose as a result of the tighter supply.

Seven states also enacted tax increases on gasoline July 1, helping to boost prices. The increases ranged from a barely noticeable 0.3 cents in Maryland to nearly 10 cents in Indiana. California, Montana, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia also raised their state tax.

Here's how prices were looking at the pump around the country this week:

  • South Carolina had the lowest statewide average for regular at $1.97. Alabama, at $1.98, and Mississippi, at $1.99, were the only other states under $2.

  • Hawaii had the most expensive gas, $3.06 for regular, followed by California at $2.92, Washington, $2.81, and Alaska, $2.80.

  • The biggest price increases this past week were in the central part of the country. Average prices for regular rose 4 cents in Iowa and 6 cents in both Missouri and Ohio.

The national average for premium gas rose a penny to $2.80. Diesel fuel was unchanged at $2.44.

Regular is now 4 cents higher than a year ago, as a national average, according to AAA. Premium is 7 cents higher and diesel is 8 cents higher.

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