Gas prices haven’t been this high since 2014, and they may rise further

Gas prices have hit their highest levels since 2014 and will probably increase slightly over the next week or so, according to AAA Auto Club.

Monday, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in Nebraska was $2.75, and in Iowa it was $2.77, according to AAA.

Nationwide, the average price hit $2.87. At least nine states have reached an average of $3 a gallon.

Rose White, spokeswoman for AAA in Nebraska, said prices may increase a few more cents going into the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but no sharp hikes are expected.

White said the recent increase is largely due to efforts globally to tighten supplies as a way of increasing prices. Other factors include the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and an increase in U.S. oil exports.

“Numerous things can impact prices. If all things remain relatively calm in the next few weeks, we shouldn’t see more than just a few cents increase at the pump,” she said.

In a departure from the usual, gas costs more in Iowa than in Nebraska. White said a fire at a refinery that supplies Iowa is most likely part of the reason.

“It will be temporary,” she said.

The average price for a gallon of gas in Nebraska is up 7 cents and in Iowa, 8 cents.

A year ago, Nebraska was averaging $2.29, and Iowa, $2.26. Nationally, the average price was $2.34.

In nine states, the average price is $3 or more and a few more states are likely to join that list, she said.

In Nebraska, 14 communities have average gas prices of $3 or more.

Prices still aren’t near their all-time high, which occurred in July 2008, White said. At that time, Iowans were paying an average of $4.02 and Nebraskans, $4.10. Nationally, the average price was $4.11.

White said drivers can take several steps to save on mileage. Drive carefully, combine errands and keep your car and tires well maintained. Aggressive driving — quick acceleration and abrupt stops — can waste as much as 30 percent of fuel, she said.

If you drive a flex-fuel vehicle that can handle high blends of ethanol, now is the time to switch to E85, White said. E85 gasoline is running about 50 cents below the average price of gasoline.

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