Gas prices have edged up in New Jersey and around the nation, with analysts citing rising crude oil prices and the year-end spike in holiday travel.
AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded was $2.62 in New Jersey last week, up three cents from the previous week. Drivers are now paying 25 cents more per gallon than they did a year ago.
At the Jersey Shore, gas prices currently range from $2.59 to $2.64 for a gallon of regular gas, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. The cheapest gas is currently found in Cape May County, while Monmouth County is the most expensive.
The average gas price across the nation was $2.58 a gallon, up three cents from last week.
AAA says crude oil prices have pushed past $60 per barrel due in part to political turbulence in the Middle East. Oil analyst Tom Kloza told NJ.com that he doesn’t see “huge increases” in oil prices “unless there are follow-up skirmishes, battles, and sabotage in the Persian Gulf.”
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.
A statewide 23-cents-per-gallon gas tax increase went into effect in November 2016. Another hike of 4.3-cents-per-gallon went into effect in Oct. 2018, bringing the total tax on fuel up to 41.14 cents and 48.4 cents for diesel. The tax feeds the state’s transportation trust fund to support capital improvements to roadways and bridges.
But the tax won’t increase in 2020, officials announced last August.
“We’re pleased that fuel consumption levels, coupled with our realistic projections last year, have allowed us to avoid an increase in the gas tax rate,” Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio said.
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.