Gas prices are on the rise in New Jersey amid an oil price rally and the state’s new 4.3-cent gas tax increase taking effect.
AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average price of a gallon of regular gas Friday in New Jersey was $2.90, up five cents from last week.
Motorists were paying $2.55 for gas in New Jersey at this time last year. The national average gas price Friday was $2.91 a gallon, up three cents from last week.
The national average a year ago was $2.52 a gallon.
At the Jersey Shore, gas prices currently range from $2.86 to $3 for a gallon of regular gas, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. The cheapest gas is currently found in Ocean County, while Monmouth County is the most expensive.
According to gasbuddy.com, the best prices late this week are found in the Toms River area, while the most expensive fuel is along the Route 35 corridor between Red Bank and Eatontown.
Analysts say motorists usually see prices drop this time of year as gasoline demand decreases and cheaper-to-produce winter blend gasoline is available – but this year gas prices feel more like summer than fall.
In New Jersey, gas prices have increased steadily since September 2016, when the average price of a gallon was around $2 and $2.20 in the country, according to gasbuddy.com.
The 4.3-cent gas tax hike is the second since the 23-cent increase that went into effect in November 2016. The total tax on fuel is now 41.1 cents and 48.4 cents for diesel.
State officials say they have no choice because people are purchasing less fuel and state law requires an increase to the tax rate annually to cover road and rail expenses.
The gas tax is still less than in Pennsylvania (58.7 cents) and New York (45.8 cents).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.