Gas prices in New Jersey are continuing to decline even as the national average is moving up.
AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average price of a gallon of regular gas in the state on Friday was $2.60, down three cents from last week. Motorists were paying $2.31 a gallon for gas in New Jersey at this time last year.
At the Jersey Shore, the highest gas prices are in Monmouth County, ranging from $2.63 to $2.72 cents a gallon. But the same gallon is cheaper in the remainder of the Shore counties at $2.53 to $2.59.
The national average gas price Friday was $2.54, an increase of two cents from a week earlier. A year ago, drivers across the nation were paying an average of $2.32 for a gallon of regular gas.
Analysts say gas prices are trending cheaper as the demand for consumer gasoline declines, but gas prices are likely to increase throughout April, May and into the start of summer.
AAA says the nationwide gas price average might rise to $2.70 a gallon, which would be the highest level since the summer of 2015 ($2.81).
“There is tremendous volatility in the oil and gasoline market. Crude oil is selling at high prices compared to previous years and domestic gasoline demand has been high most of the winter among the factors all driving gas prices up and draining consumers’ wallets,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.
“This spring, consumers may have to make decisions on where they can cut costs to cover gas prices that are potentially 40-cents more per gallon than last spring,” she added.
A recent AAA survey found the vast majority of motorists would change their driving habits or lifestyle to offset higher gas prices.
The organization expects summer gas prices to be just as expensive as spring prices, but with the potential that they may not increase at such a quick rate.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.