As we head into the dog days of summer, gas prices have once again become a real pain. According to AAA, a gallon of regular unleaded has increased 14 cents versus a week ago. Today's national average is $3.61, up from $3.47 a week ago. It's up 1.3 cents in the past 24 hours alone.
It could mean a repeat of last year's seasonal ramp-up, which spiked around Labor Day, but that's a newish trend. Between the first week of July and the first week of September, a gallon of regular unleaded soared 49 cents in 2012, but just 9 cents in 2011, according to historical data from the federal government's Energy Information Administration. In 2008, 2009 and 2010, gas fell during that span.
Gas prices are also 22 cents higher than a year ago at this time.
Why this year's rise? Business Insider explains that gas prices track with those of Brent crude oil, which has gained 7% since late June on political unrest in Egypt and production outages in Libya. And CNBC reports that U.S. refinery outages along the Gulf Coast, the Midwest, the East Coast and Canada have exacerbated the problems. Brent prices have leveled off in the past couple days, but it remains to be seen whether they will return to June levels.