Rising gas prices could put brakes on some summer driving

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N.J. Burkett has details on the recent rise in gas prices.

With just days to go until the Memorial Day weekend, gas prices are rising along with the temperatures.

And the hikes could apply the brakes to some summer travel plans.

According to a GasBuddy.com survey, only 58 percent of people will take a road trip this summer, down from 24 percent last year.

The price hit $5 a gallon Monday at one Mobil station on 11th Avenue and 51st Street in Manhattan.

Nationwide, the average price for a gallon of regular is $2.91. It's $2.97 in New Jersey. The statewide average in New York is now $3.04 and it's $3.08 in Connecticut. Topping all of them is New York City, with an average of $3.15.

According to the AAA, gasoline prices are rising on average by a penny every day. And just in time for the summer travel season.

So what's going on at the pumps? "Most recently, it's the threatened re-imposition of very harsh sanctions against Iran, which is the fourth largest oil producer in the world," said AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair. "We could see some really sharp increases."

Experts say prices typically rise at this time of year, but not this fast.

Crude oil prices have hit their highest level in more than three years and are expected to keep climbing, pushing up gasoline prices along the way.

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

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.

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.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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