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Gas prices rise for first time since February

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gas prices(Chicago Tribune) — The national average price of gas increased 10 cents a gallon, or about 3 percent in May, the first increase since February, AAA said Friday.

Drivers in the Midwest felt the most pain from rapidly increasing prices heading into the peak summer driving season, AAA said.

“Continued refinery maintenance and other production issues led to tight supplies and a spooked market for much of the month,” said AAA spokesman Avery Ash.

In Illinois, the average per-gallon price of gas is now $3.97, up just two cents from a month ago and down from a week ago. Illinois is now one of 11 states paying more than $4 a gallon.

In greater Chicago, prices have actually fallen about 4 cents from a month ago and now stand at $4.12 per gallon on average. The price per gallon within city limits is up 4 cents from a month ago at $4.35 per gallon. The highest-ever price recorded in Chicago was $4.68, hit in late March 2012.

AAA expects prices to drop nationwide in June as gasoline supply problems ease as some refinery maintenance ends.

Gas prices tend to rise leading up to the summer because refineries are required to use a more expensive blend that produces fewer emissions.

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