By Steve Bittenbender | The Center Square contributor
(The Center Square) – Hoosier drivers are paying nearly 20 cents more for a gallon of regular unleaded than they did last month.
According to the latest figures from AAA, Indiana’s statewide average is $3.705. That’s more than 20 cents cheaper than what motorists paid last April and more than $1.50 a gallon cheaper than they paid last June – when prices were at a record high – it’s still up sharply from the average price of $3.509 they paid last month and from the $3.539 average it reported last week for the state.
The more than 16-cent per-gallon increase is the fifth-highest weekly increase in the nation, according to the leisure travel association.
Prices for higher-grade fuels are also up similarly over the last week, with mid-range unleaded costing an average of $4.162 and premium costing an average of $4.596
A AAA spokesperson cited rising oil prices for the recent increases.
“When the cost of crude oil crosses the $80 a barrel mark, that puts a lot of upward pressure on what we pay at the pump, and as long as oil costs remain at the current level, drivers will likely see incremental price increases for now,” Andrew Gross said.
Indiana’s average for regular unleaded is slightly higher than the $3.673 national average, although the amount Hoosier drivers pay varies based on location.
Gas stations in Perry County, a rural county next to the Ohio River in southern Indiana, have the lowest average price at $3.491 per gallon. Meanwhile, motorists in Porter County in northwestern Indiana are paying the most at $3.906.
In the Indianapolis area, the average price is $3.694, up 18 cents from just last week, and the $3.671 average in Fort Wayne is up from the $3.492 average stations reported last week.
Drivers needing diesel fuel are paying an average of $4.279 per gallon. That’s down almost 13% from the price a year ago and nearly 12 cents a gallon from last month.
Nationally, the cheapest gas can be found in Mississippi, where the average price is $3.166. California drivers are paying the most for regular unleaded, with an average price of $4.915.