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Gas prices up for 7 days in a row

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Fresh off a 27-cent jump last month, gas prices were up slightly in a daily survey by motorist group AAA, as the price of crude oil backed off recent highs.

The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose Tuesday to $3.375, according to AAA. That was up 0.7 cent from $3.368 a gallon on Monday, and marked the seventh day in a row that prices have increased.

Gasoline prices and taxes by state
Prices at the pump can vary widely among states due to a number of factors. More

Gas prices nationwide averaged about $3.17 a gallon last month, compared with $2.65 a gallon in February 2010.

As in recent weeks, Hawaii reported the highest gas prices in the nation, with drivers in the state paying an average of $3.784 a gallon. The lowest gas prices were in Montana, at $3.065 an average gallon.

Gas prices jumped 20 cents in the last eight days of February, as political unrest in Libya drove up the price of crude oil, the main ingredient in gasoline.

But oil prices have been tame so far this week. U.S. oil futures for April delivery were holding near $97 a barrel on Tuesday, down from a high above $103 last week.

Despite the recent moderation in the oil market, prices remain volatile as traders watch the changing political landscape in parts of the Middle East, source of much of the world's oil.

Oil prices had already been drifting higher before the protest movement that started this year in Tunisia spread to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Oman. Analysts worry that prices could spike again if other oil-exporting nations are destabilized.

Gas prices remain below the record highs seen in July 2008, when the national average price rose to $4.114 a gallon.

Consumers cut back on driving and curtailed discretionary spending the last time gas prices rose above $4 a gallon, and many economists worry that a sustained period of high gas prices could hurt the still fragile economy.  To top of page

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