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Gas prices at four-month high

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Production slowdowns and rising crude oil prices have driven central Ohio gas prices to their highest levels since mid-October, an analyst says.

According to a daily survey by the AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express, the average price per gallon of regular gasoline in Columbus jumped 10 cents overnight to $3.64, the highest price since Oct. 14.

Local prices have gone up 34 cents in the past month, compared with a 25-cent climb in the national average.

The 17-cent increase in the nationwide average price between Jan. 28 and this Monday was the most dramatic one-week spike in nearly two years, AAA public relations manager Michael Green said.

The increase has been most dramatic in the Midwest, led by jumps of more than 30 cents per gallon in both Indiana and Michigan.

Ohio’s 20-cent monthly increase seems paltry compared with the 11 states that posted price hikes of at least 30 cents.

On Monday, motorists in Indiana, Minnesota and Michigan were all paying at least 40 cents more than one month ago, Green said.

The dramatic price increases have been due to higher regional crude prices and production concerns as refineries prepare to make the conversion to producing summer-blend gasoline, Green said.

Oil prices have risen about ten dollars per barrel over the past two months because of encouraging economic data.

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