Average gas prices in Utah reach $3.00 for first time since 2015

Florida gas prices hit 3-year high

Analysts think higher gas prices are back for the foreseeable future.

The average price for a gallon of regular gas in the Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice market was $2.70 on Monday, AAA reported.

"Ultimately, OPEC bears much of the responsibility for cutting oil production in 2017, leaving US oil inventories at far lower levels than a year ago", said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

Florida's state average surpassed last year's high of $2.73 by one cent on Thursday, becoming the highest daily average price since December 2014.

Since 2014, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has successfully aligned supply to demand, drained crude oil glut and has continued to cause oil prices to increase. The price of oil is about 25% more than previous year, as what used to be a global supply glut, is now tightening. On the gasoline side, demand is strong and inventories are down as refineries wrap up their maintenance season and begin pushing out summer-blend fuel, which is more expensive to produce.

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Rising oil prices are the main culprit.

According to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com, "average retail gasoline prices in Baton Rouge have risen 6.3 cents per gallon in the past week". But gas prices hitting the $3 a gallon mark is not out of the question.

Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for the price-comparison website and app GasBuddy.com, noted a new record for USA demand was set last week - an "ominous" sign for prices if that demand is sustained over the next few weeks. So there are now a number of factors keeping upward pressure on gas prices.

At the close of trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil settled at $68.40 per barrel, climbing above $68 a barrel on Wednesday for the first time since 2015. It's making ongoing production cuts by OPEC and non-member nations such as Russian Federation start to have a larger impact on oil prices.

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