Drivers in New Jersey are seeing higher prices at the pump with the advent of spring.
AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average price of a gallon of regular gas Friday in the state was $2.61, five cents higher than last week.
At the Jersey Shore, the highest gas prices are in Monmouth County, on average $2.665 a gallon. But the same gallon is cheaper in the remainder of the Shore counties: $2.558 in Atlantic, $2.590 in Cape May, and $2.602 in Ocean.
Motorists were paying $2.28 a gallon at this time last year. The national average gas price Friday was $2.59, up six cents from last week.
A year ago, drivers across the nation were paying an average of $2.29 for a gallon of regular gas.
Analysts say 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.