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US says gas may hit $3 a gallon

WASHINGTON – The price U.S. drivers will pay for regular unleaded gasoline could hit a national average of $3 a gallon this year, the government’s top energy forecasting agency said.

“Some stations have already posted prices for regular gasoline that exceed $3 per gallon and it is certainly possible that average retail prices across the country could reach that level sometime this year,” the Energy Information Administration said in its weekly review of the oil market.

The EIA reported on Monday that the U.S. average price for gasoline soared 10 cents over the last week to $2.78 a gallon.

The agency said U.S. gasoline production should increase as oil refineries undergoing maintenance return to full operations over the next several weeks. That should slow the rise in pump prices and may actually cause them to decline.

Pump prices have shot up 29 cents over the last three weeks.

“While (gasoline) demand will generally increase as we move closer to summer, increased domestic production, in addition to the expected continuation of significant volumes of gasoline imports, should be enough to cause prices to begin to fall again, albeit not nearly as much as they have increased,” the EIA said.