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      Travelers face unwanted gas spike

      Motorists face an unwelcome spike in gas prices right before one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. Southeast fuel prices rose last week after Gulf Coast supplies tightened. / File

      Motorists face an unwelcome spike in gas prices right before one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. Southeast fuel prices rose last week after Gulf Coast supplies tightened. Florida was impacted the most with the state's average jumping almost 20 cents in a week.

      Refineries in Louisiana and Texas that supply the Gulf Coast are in the midst of production problems that cut output capacity. The maintenance issues are directly affecting pump prices in southeast states. The increase in price pushed Florida in the red zone as one of the state's with the nation's highest gas prices.

      Supplies across the nation continue to increase and the price for a barrel of crude is still below $95. U.S inventories recently rose by 375,000 barrels for a total of 389 million, according to the Energy Information Administration.

      "The holiday budget for many Americans just got tighter," said Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group. "At first, it looked like millions of motorists would enjoy some of the lowest gas prices of the year during their Thanksgiving road trips. Unfortunately, that won't be the case. The good news is the spike in pump prices should be temporary. Once Gulf Coast refineries return to full production, drivers should see gas prices move back on a downward path."

      Both the nation's ($3.28) and the state of Georgia's ($3.26) averages for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline increased 7 cents from last week. Florida's average of $3.41 jumped 18 cents from a week ago. Tennessee's average of $3.14 increased 8 cents from last week.

      Visit AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report to find national, state, and local metro market retail gasoline prices.


      CURRENT AND PAST PRICE AVERAGES

      Regular Unleaded Gasoline

      Current Week Ago Month Ago Year Ago

      National: $3.275 $3.208 $3.315 $3.429

      Florida: $3.407 $3.231 $3.308 $3.389

      Georgia: $3.263 $3.194 $3.281 $3.282

      Tennessee: $3.141 $3.060 $3.170 $3.168

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