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Gas prices rising nationwide, but maybe not for long

Gas prices are up an average of four cents a gallon nationwide during the past week – and 78 cents a gallon from last year. But signs of gas prices easing are emerging.

Gas prices are on the rise in states nationwide as refineries switch over to their summer blend and demand for gasoline grows. In this picture, John Weaver fills up a gasoline tank at a gas station in South Euclid, Ohio.

Tony Dejak/AP

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Reports of rising gas prices nationwide could be misleading.

Gas prices typically rise every year as Memorial Day approaches. For one, refineries are switching over to their summer blend, which is more expensive, and companies expect a rise in demand during the summer driving season.

Gas prices peaked on June 19 last year, for example.

This year is no different with the average gas prices for a gallon Friday at $2.92, up four cents during the past week. States including New Jersey and Texas reported five to seven cent hikes in gas prices during the past week.

Overall national gas prices are up 78 cents from a year ago. By the end of last week, however, signs were emerging that gas prices might peak in the not-too-distant future.

Gasoline futures fell and the price of oil also dropped with the strengthening of the dollar. The price of oil was $85 a barrel in late April. Now, it is $75.11.

In fact, Friday's price of $2.92 marked a nearly one cent decline from Thursday.

There is little evidence that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is having any impact on gas prices. Reports suggest that oil reserves remain high in the area. The greater concern would be the closure of the Mississippi River's Southwest Pass, a key shipping lane for finished gasoline, Phil Flynn, energy analyst with PFG Best in Chicago, told the Associated Press.

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