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U.S. gas prices at highest level in 7 years ahead of July 4 weekend

By Zarrin Ahmed
U.S. gas prices at highest level in 7 years ahead of July 4 weekend
AAA estimates that as many as 43.6 million Americans will hit the road for Independence Day weekend, which runs from Thursday to Monday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

June 29 (UPI) -- Ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend, gasoline prices in the United States are the highest they have been in several years -- and some stations are running out of fuel.

According to AAA, the national average on Tuesday is about $3.11 per gallon. That's the highest average since late 2014.

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By this weekend, that figure may rise another nickel, AAA says.

AAA estimates that as many as 43.6 million Americans will hit the road for Independence Day weekend, which runs from Thursday to Monday.

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"Today, 89% of U.S. gas stations are selling regular unleaded for $2.75 or more. That is a stark increase over last July 4 when only a quarter of stations were selling gas for more than $2.25," AAA spokesperson Jeanette McGee said in a statement Monday.

"Road trippers will pay the most to fill up for the holiday since 2014."

According to AAA, Mississippi ($2.74), Louisiana ($2.75) and Texas ($2.79) have the nation's least expensive gas -- and it's most expensive in California ($4.28), Hawaii ($4.00) and Washington state ($3.74).

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Some stations won't have any gasoline to sell due to a shortage of delivery drivers. Rising demand is also playing a factor in the shortages.

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Tom Klonza, global head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service, says that may result in drivers topping off their tanks more frequently.

"It used to be an afterthought for station owners to schedule truck deliveries. Now it's job No. 1," Kloza told CNN. "What I'm worried about for July is the increased demand works out to about 2,500 to 3,000 more deliveries needed every day. There just aren't the drivers to do that."

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