Pump prices level off after big surge

  • Gasoline prices are displayed as a motorist refuels his vehicle Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. The nationwide average price for a gallon of gas jumped 4 cents overnight to $3.46 a gallon, according to AAA. That makes a three-day gain of 10 cents and, for the first time in 2013, gas now costs more than it did a year ago. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Pump prices leveled off over the weekend, breaking a monthlong string of daily increases that boosted the cost of driving.

On Monday the national average for gas stood at $3.777 a gallon, down a fractional from $3.781 on Friday, according to AAA, the Oil Price Information Service, and Wright Express. The price is still up about 44 cents from a month ago.

Last week's 3 percent drop in oil prices helped slow the rise in gas prices, but the relief may be short-lived.

On Thursday, when the average for gas was $3.78, Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at OPIS, said prices "will still be higher on St. Patrick's Day than they are now." Gas prices usually rise in late winter and early spring as refiners close for maintenance and switch to more expensive summer blends. The price of gas peaked last year at $3.94 a gallon on April 5.

Meanwhile oil posted a slight gain in afternoon trading in New York, after being more than $1 higher earlier. Benchmark crude gained 15 cents to $93.28 a barrel.

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