3 reasons for this week's spike in gas prices

Don't Waste Your Money

Wow. In just two weeks, the price at the pump has taken a stunning jump at many Cincinnati-area gas stations, from $3.39 to $3.69 and now up to $3.75 for a gallon of regular. 

This is the highest price for gasoline since last September.

Some stations have seen a 40 cent jump in just a matter of days. 

RELATED: Gas Prices Map

If it is any consolation, this is not limited to just the Tri-State region.

Prices have spiked across the country since late February, and the Los Angeles area is now above $4 for the first time this year (of course, $4 gas in L.A. is as common as a traffic jam on the Santa Monica Freeway).

Reasons for the Sudden Jump

AAA and analysts say a number of factors have combined to make this latest jump more painful than most.

     -Political events in the Ukraine have sent oil prices higher for the past month. They are easing a bit now, but any turmoil in that part of the world has an impact on crude oil.

     -The start of Spring Break travel and increase in demand that comes with warmer weather each year. Face it, few people hit the roads in January, especially this year with so much cold weather. They are now driving again, and using more fuel.

     -The annual switch form winter to summer blended gas. Summer gas has to be cleaner according to EPA rules, and even though it has not yet been delivered to gas stations yet, the refineries are closing out the last of their winter gasoline in March. They shut down for a few days for maintenance, then restart to make the summer blend. That causes temporary supply problems.

Prices rises each year in April and May once the summer blended fuel hits the pumps, because that is more expensive to produce. 

But just preparing for summer fuel also causes a price hike in March, AAA says.

The good news: Forecasts are not calling for the national average to exceed $4 this summer. But of course, forecasts can be wrong.

As always, don't waste your money.

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