Portions of N.J. seeing $3 a gallon gas prices as holiday weekend looms

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Motorists are still seeing higher prices at the pump in New Jersey, with local averages reaching $3 per gallon in areas.

AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average price of a gallon of regular gas in the state on Friday was $2.97, up 5 cents from last week. Motorists were paying $2.36 for gas in New Jersey at this time last year.

At the Jersey Shore, the highest gas prices are in Monmouth County, on average $3.025 a gallon. But the same gallon is cheaper in the remainder of the Shore counties: $2.947 in Atlantic, $2.949 in Cape May, and $2.960 in Ocean.

The national average gas price Friday was $2.91, up from $2.86 a gallon last week. That’s also higher than the national average from a year ago, when motorists were paying $2.34.

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But New Jersey isn’t even in the 10 most expensive markets, which range from California at the top ($3.69) and Pennsylvania ($3.04) at number 10, according to AAA.

New Jersey imposed a 23-cent gas tax increase in 2016 and lowered the sales tax from 7 to 6.875 percent in late 2016 and 6.625 in 2018.

Gov. Phil Murphy has said he is not planning on lowering the gas tax and hopes to raise and restore the sales tax to 7 percent to fund state initiatives.

Analysts say gasoline inventories dropped while demand and oil prices remain high.

According to AAA, the price spike in the last week is in part to the White House’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran.

“The Administration’s move combined with the switchover to summer blend, growing global demand and shrinking supply continues to fuel pump prices as we approach the summer driving season,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “AAA predicts that the national average may reach $3/gallon this summer, especially if crude oil prices continue to increase.”

But even though gas prices are likely to be the highest since 2014, AAA is projecting “the highest Memorial Day holiday weekend travel volume since 2005.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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