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Average gas prices shot up 44 cents a gallon in Minnesota and 36¢ a gallon in Iowa over the past week, according to Michael Green, an AAA spokesman. Motorists in the Twin Cities were paying as much as $4.33 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.com.
On Thursday evening before Memorial Day weekend for example, the SuperAmerica at 77th and Nicollet was selling regular gas for $4.27 a gallon, according to the map above.
Nationwide, gas prices were predicted to be lower this summer compared to the last three years, but that won't translate into savings at the pump this Memorial Day weekend, experts said.
"Motorists this year are facing rising gas prices heading into the Memorial Day holiday," said Green, adding that Memorial Day 2013 would probably be the most expensive since 2011.
In past years, prices have declined heading into early summer as oil refineries produced more gasoline to meet expected summer driving demand. This year, though, Midwest refineries haven't been able to produce as much gas, which has pushed prices to all-time highs.
By Memorial Day weekend, "retail gas prices should have stabilized in the Midwest, but will continue rising on the East Coast, West Coast, and Gulf Coast," said Chuck Bonner, the lead analyst for GasPredictor.com. "Some areas will see fairly dramatic increases like the double-digit price hikes that most Midwest cities have already seen in the past week."
AAA had predicted a nationwide low of $3.20–$3.40 per gallon during the summer, but Green said the current spike in prices means gas may never be that cheap this summer.
"This is one of the more volatile Memorial Day weekends that I can remember," Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com, told Patch.
While you can't control the price at the pump, you might be able to control how much gas your car burns. AAA offered these tips:
- Properly inflate your tires
- Avoid flooring the accelerator and slamming on the brakes
- Drive the speed limit
- Keep up-to-date on routine vehicle maintenence