Gas prices: Up 14% for the month

Prices are still 38% lower than the same time a year ago, and are 55% off the July 17 record high price of $4.114

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By Catherine Tymkiw, CNNMoney.com producer

CNNMoney.com (NEW YORK) -- Gasoline prices edged higher Saturday and are now 14% higher from where they started the month, according to a daily survey of credit card swipes.

The price of gas hit a national average of $1.855 a gallon, up slightly from $1.846 a gallon on Friday, according to motorist group AAA. Prices have been on an upward trajectory for most of the month, starting January some 23 cents lower at $1.626 a gallon.

But prices are still 38% lower than the same time a year ago, when a gallon of gas cost $2.988, and are 55% off the July 17 record high price of $4.114. It's unlikely gas prices will hit the $4 mark anytime soon. Auto sales have been dismal and nearly every day brings more bad news on the economic front.

Another factor keeping gas prices in check is a decline in demand, which started during the typically high summer driving season. Drivers started shying away from the roads as gas prices surged to a record high in July and many continued to opt out of driving even as prices began to ease.

Gasoline is a product of crude oil and it tends to rise and fall in tandem with oil prices. The drop-off in crude during the last half of 2008 helped push gas prices lower.

Saturday, gas prices were above $2 a gallon in 5 states: Alaska, Hawaii, California, Nevada and Washington. The cheapest gas was available in Wyoming, where a gallon cost $1.535.

The AAA figures are statewide averages based on credit card swipes at up to 100,000 service stations across the nation. To top of page

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