AAA: Gas prices on the rise, but don't panic

The average price of gasoline has increased seven days in a row and is expected to continue on its upward trend, according to AAA.

The auto group said on Monday that the national average is now at $2.06 per gallon, after dropping to a low of $2.03 per gallon.

Gas prices declined a record 123 days before increasing last week, the longest consecutive downward spiral ever tracked by AAA.

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“Many drivers are noticing an uptick in gas prices for the first time in months,” said AAA spokesman Avery Ash. “It is typical to see gas prices increase this time of year due to refinery issues, yet hopefully the consumer impact will be less problematic given how low prices are today.”

The $2.06 per gallon price tag is still $1.22 per gallon less than a year ago, AAA said. 

Americans are spending roughly $365 million less per day on gasoline compared to this time last year.

Costly refinery issues and more stable crude oil costs have started to push gas prices back up, AAA said. 

The trend is expected to continue into February, AAA noted, due to maintenance on refineries and a drop in production. 

“It is a good bet that most drivers will pay more for gasoline in March than today,” Ash said. “Yet even if gas prices increase as expected, drivers should continue paying at least a dollar less on gasoline than what they spent in recent years during the spring.”    

Still, the auto group said gas prices should remain low compared to recent years due to the drop in crude oil costs, meaning the national average price of gas should not rise above $3 per galling in 2015.