By J.D. Davidson | The Center Square

Gas prices in Ohio continue to move upward but remain well below highs from a year ago.

The American Automobile Association lists the Friday average price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline in the state at $3.49, a little less than a penny higher than Thursday but 21 cents higher than a week ago.

A year ago, Ohioans were paying $4.05 a gallon.

Some blame rising temperatures for higher prices at the pump, despite a continued slow demand from consumers.

“Gas demand barely budged from last week, yet compared to this time in 2022, it is higher nationwide except for the Gulf Coast, Texas and New Mexico,“ said Andrew Gross, a AAA spokesman. “Some industry experts speculate that scorching temps in that region are keeping people off the road.”

Ohio’s average price remains nearly 30 cents lower than the national average of $3.73.

The Cincinnati and southeastern Ohio Lawrence County metro areas posted the state’s highest averages at $3.52 per gallon. The Belmont County area, near Wheeling, West Virginia, has the lowest average at $3.42, while the Steubenville area averaged $3.44.

The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets are Washington ($4.92), California ($4.89), Hawaii ($4.68), Oregon ($4.58), Alaska ($4.30), Nevada ($4.22), Utah ($3.93), Idaho ($3.89), Illinois ($3.83) and Colorado ($3.82).

A little more than a year ago, Columbus drivers paid more than $5 a gallon for the first time. At the same time, the statewide average hoovered just under that mark at $4.97.

At that time, experts said the high price of oil was caused by many refineries refusing to buy Russian oil following its invasion of Ukraine.

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