MANATEE -- Gas prices in the Bradenton-Sarasota area have risen 4.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $1.85 a gallon Monday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 308 area gas outlets. This compares with the national average that has increased 11.9 cents per gallon in the last week to $1.93 a gallon.
But prices stilll were 58.5 cents a gallon lower in Bradenton-Sarasota than the same day one year ago, and 15.2 cents a gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 23.9 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 50.2 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.
According to GasBuddy historical data, area gasoline prices have ranged widely over the last five years on March 14:
$2.43 a gallon in 2015, $3.54 a gallon in 2014, $3.79 a gallon in 2013, $3.83 a gallon in 2012, and $3.57 a gallon in 2011.
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In Florida, the average gas price is $1.90 a gallon to start the week, up 6.8 cents per gallon from last week's $1.83 a gallon.
"The cheapest gas prices of the year are now solidly behind us as the national average will soon again hit $2," said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. "The current upward trend is an unfortunate one that we witness every year, but the sudden jolt this time around has been enhanced by a 45 percent jump in the price of crude oil in the last month.
"At the end of the day, we expect this rally in gasoline prices to run for another month or two before stalling out," DeHaan said. "Perhaps the best news? Motorists still could see the cheapest average summer gasoline prices in over a decade."