Gas prices in Jersey are on the rise along with the spring thermometer, for a number of reasons. senior analyst Patrick DeHaan said those rising pump prices are happening around the usual suspects — "the switch over to more expensive summer gasoline mandated by the EPA and Clean Air Act amendments, as well as refinery maintenance that is taking place."

And DeHaan adds there is one more thing: "That is the price of oil has gone up in recent days."

Crude oil futures rose $1.03 in New York Tuesday, closing at $51.03 a barrel.

Jersey's average price right now is $2.33 per gallon. The national average sits just about at the same level, $2.34 per gallon.

According to DeHaan, not only is spring break coming, but the temperatures are starting to warm countrywide — and that is spurring Americans to hit the road. That extra driving is also driving extra demand.

And the switch over to summer grades of gas, here in New Jersey and elsewhere?

"That is a transition that takes several months to fully implement. And right now we are kind of in the midst of that transition," DeHaan said. "Refiners are getting rid of any excess winter gasoline that they may have, getting rid of those 'brown bananas' so to speak, and in some cases, they are doing so at very low prices."

DeHaan said we are likely to see an increase of 20 to 40 cents per gallon by Memorial Day.

"Most areas will see prices peak in the mid to upper-$2 a gallon range, with some of those $3 dollar prices possible in higher-priced areas only, like California, some areas of New York City, Chicago. But most of the nation should see prices for much of the summer settle into the upper-$2 range, perhaps as low as the mid-$2 a gallon range. And I think that that is what is on tap for New Jersey," DeHaan said.

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Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor at New Jersey 101.5.

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