Last days of summer push up gas prices

With summer vacation all but a memory, U.S. motorists may actually be looking forward to autumn for some relief at the gas pump.

Average gasoline prices rose 1.5 cents overnight to $3.843 per gallon today, the biggest gain in two weeks. That's up 15 cents from a month ago and nearly 19 cents from a year ago.

Motorists in about eight states are paying at least $4 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service. The lowest prices, ranging from $3.585 to $3.687 per gallon, are in Texas, parts of the South, the Rockies and South Carolina.

Yet, relief is in sight because refiners can switch to selling cheaper winter blends of gasoline beginning Saturday, which should push prices down. "This is the fireworks finale for the season, the next four or five days," said Tom Kloza, OPIS chief oil analyst. "By next week, it will, it will start to move lower."

Gas prices hit a high for the year of $3.94 per gallon in late April and then began to fall due to weak demand and plentiful supply. But a series of pipeline and refinery issues have pushed prices up 10 percent since June 20.

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