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Gas prices edge lower across U.S. after reaching record high

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Gas prices edge lower across U.S. after reaching record high
Gasoline sells for over $5 at a station in Daly City, Calif., on March 5. California has the highest gas prices in the nation due to higher state taxes that add almost 90 cents per gallon.  Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

March 14 (UPI) -- Gas prices in the United States have edged lower after reaching an all-time high late last week.

According to AAA on Monday, the average cost for regular gasoline nationwide is about $4.32 per gallon, which is down from a record $4.33 on Friday.

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Prices have been on a steady incline over the past month due to various factors, including Russia's war in Ukraine that led to a U.S. oil embargo on Russian-produced oil.

Another factor in the rising cost of fuel has been the economic recovery from COVID-19 and the subsequent recession in 2020, which took millions of vehicles off U.S. roads and pushed gas prices way lower than the average -- to under $1 per gallon in some states.

Several factors account for varying gas prices from state to state, including state taxes on gasoline, proximity to refineries and efforts to make gas less damaging to the environment. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI

A week ago, the average was $4.06 per gallon. A month ago, it was $3.49 and a year ago the average was $2.86, according to AAA.

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Presently, California has, by far, the most expensive gas in the United States -- an average of $5.74. In Hawaii and Nevada, the average is $4.95.

The least expensive gas in the nation is in Kansas ($3.82), followed by Missouri ($3.84), Oklahoma ($3.85), Arkansas ($3.89) and Nebraska ($3.89).

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Prices are significantly higher in California due to various state taxes that fund infrastructure and environmental fees. California's state gas tax is close to 90 cents per gallon, which is the highest in the United States.

California's gas is also more expensive because the state requires different fuel blends that are less polluting and more environmentally friendly. Prices are also affected by proximity to refinery plants that turn oil into gasoline.

Oil prices also edged lower on Monday. Brent crude, the international benchmark, was selling for $107 per barrel (down 5%) at the start of trading -- and West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, was selling for $103 per barrel (down 6%).

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