(RNN) - After months of steady declines, gas prices shot up by 17 cents a gallon in July, marking the highest July increase in more than a decade.
"Higher global oil prices and increased demand for gasoline during the busy summer driving season were the primary factors that sent pump prices higher," said Avery Ash, spokesperson for the automotive group AAA.
According to AAA statistics, the average price of gas was $3.42 a gallon in July, the third-highest price for July ever recorded.
The group has been tracking changes in national gas price averages since 2000.
The average price on Tuesday was $3.50 per gallon, nearly 21 cents less than a year ago but 2 cents more than last week.
Although gas prices typically fall in August - as they have in seven of the last 10 years - AAA predicts prices will remain relatively flat or even rise a little. They don't predict prices will go down until after Labor Day.
"Drivers will continue to face high pump prices in the weeks ahead as the summer draws to a close," Ash said.
The last time gas prices rose in August was in 2009.
While gas is still much cheaper on average than it was when it hit its highest price at $3.94 per gallon in April, some states are still short of celebrating.
Of those states with the highest gas prices, Hawaii takes the cake with $4.15 per gallon. Alaska comes in just behind the Aloha State with prices averaging in at $4.00 per gallon. Connecticut and California average around $3.80 per gallon while New York drivers shell out $3.77 per gallon.
Drivers in South Carolina aren't feeling too much of the pinch with the lowest average prices in the nation at $3.20 per gallon. In Mississippi, drivers are looking at $3.24 per gallon while neighboring Alabamians spend an average of $3.25 per gallon. In Arizona and Arkansas, the average price per gallon hovers around $3.27.
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