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Gas prices in Manatee-Sarsota rise slightly

The average price of gasoline rose by 1.2. cents a gallon to $2.02 per gallon in Manatee-Sarasota during the past week, according GasBuddy's survey of 308 gas stations.

That was half of the 2.4 cents prices nationally. The national average is $2.14.

Locally, prices Sunday were 53.6 cents per gallon lower than a year earlier, and 0.3 cents per gallon lower than a month ago, according to GasBuddy.com

"The oil markets this past week shrugged off OPEC's inability to reach an agreement for production freezes at the highly touted meeting in Doha, Qatar. West Texas Intermediate crude futures responded to a brighter demand picture that perked prices up to $43.73 per barrel for Friday's close," said Will Speer, a Houston-based senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. "Leading the demand surge has been gasoline, where the Energy Information Administration shows year-to-date demand to be up 3.4 percent from last year and up 7.4 percent from 2014.

"Unsurprisingly, this has impacted retail gasoline prices, causing 43 of the 50 states to raise prices from a week ago. Low prices have ignited the early demand surge this year, and the surge is expected to continue into the summer, where demand hits its peak for the year," Speer added.

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