Gas prices at the pump spike in 25 states: AAA

Drivers in 25 states are paying more at the gasoline pump.

Although a majority of U.S. drivers can still fill their tanks for $2.50 a gallon or less, state-by-state pump prices climbed as much as 9 cents over the past week, the American Automobile Association said Monday. The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline hit $2.53 a gallon, up a penny since Feb. 26. Gas prices had been on a steady decline for three weeks.

Fluctuating oil prices and strong demand for gasoline has created price swings at the pump from month to month, according to AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano.

“Typically, March brings more expensive pricing as days get longer, weather gets warmer and refineries gear up to switch over to pricier summer blends,” Casselano added.

Gas prices typically increase heading into spring, when gasoline production drops while refineries undergo maintenance. Motorists also tend to drive more miles, especially once the busy summer driving season kicks off around Memorial Day.

Consumers are paying 22 cents more per gallon than during the same time last year, according to AAA data. Gas prices are 8 cents cheaper than last month, though prices have climbed at least 5 cents in Ohio, Indiana and Georgia in just one week.

Also seeing prices at the pump climb last week were drivers in Alaska (4 cents), Kansas (4 cents), Michigan (4 cents) and South Carolina (3 cents). Prices in New Jersey dropped an average of 3 cents.

Hawaii remains the most expensive market at $3.50 a gallon, followed by California at $3.35 a gallon.