Gas prices: Up 24 cents in 8 days

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Gas prices continue to rise for the eighth day in a row, as the effect of high oil prices trickles down to the pump.

The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose 1.2 cents Wednesday to $3.387, according to a daily survey from motorist group AAA. Prices have jumped 23.6 cents over the past eight days.

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

Drivers in Hawaii continue to pay the highest prices in the nation, with the average price per gallon at $3.80. The lowest gas prices are in Wyoming, where drivers pay $3.09 a gallon on average.

Gas prices vary widely from state to state based largely on local tax rates. But prices have been trending higher nationwide following a rise in the price of crude oil, the main ingredient in gasoline.

Oil prices rose back above $100 a barrel Wednesday as jittery investors watched the political unrest unfolding across the Middle East, source of much of the world's crude supply. Oil prices jumped nearly 7% in February.

Gas station owners and others argue that the rise in oil prices is due to speculation that the turmoil in Libya, which follows popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, could disrupt cause supply disruptions.

As gas prices rise, economists warn that consumers could begin driving less and cut back on spending. That would be problematic for the shell-shocked U.S. economy, which is driven largely by consumer spending.

Despite the rise in gas prices, demand for large pickups and SUVs actually increased last month.

Top automakers reported February sales figures Tuesday that beat analysts' expectations, with truck sales up 32% -- the best sales rate since before the financial meltdown.  To top of page

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