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Q: Why have gas prices jumped 20 cents in the past week?

A: "Much of the increase in gasoline prices at this time of year is seasonal and related to the switchover from winter to warm-weather gasoline blends," according to the Arizona Automobile Association (AAA).

The higher cost of crude oil also has played a role in the recent pump price increase, as oil prices have risen more than 19 percent since one month ago. The explosion and fire at the Valero Energy refinery in McKee, Texas also played a part in rising prices, underscoring the somewhat fragile nature of supply, particularly in western states that don't have immediate access to global imports. Wholesale gasoline prices have also increased dramatically across the country, causing retailers -- and eventually consumers -- to pay more at the pump."

"Arizona gas prices have jumped an average of 10 cents from last week, resulting in a 15 cent average increase over the last three weeks. Currently, the average price of self-serve regular gasoline across the state sits at $2.394 per gallon. Nationwide, drivers are paying an average of $2.409 per gallon, which is 12 cents more than it was just one week ago. Tucson drivers continue to pay the lowest statewide average at $2.317 per gallon, while Scottsdale and Yuma drivers are paying the most to fill their tanks at $2.474 per gallon. Across the state, Yuma drivers saw the largest increase in pump prices this week at almost 18 cents. However, it may bring some relief to drivers to know that although they are shelling out more for gas this week over last, the statewide average from this time last year was actually slightly higher, at $2.40 per gallon."

Call 474-5251, ext. 147, to reach Roundup's What's Up? line. Leave your question on the answering machine and we'll try to find the answer.

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