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Gas prices rising in Minnesota

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Gas stations around the state seem to be getting an early start on a traditional spring price spike.

Gas prices jumped another 2 cents overnight Tuesday in Minnesota, AAA reported, continuing an upward trend in the last week.

The average price of a regular gallon in the state was $3.29 Wednesday, up from $3.17 a week ago, according to GasBuddy.com.

The average in the Twin Cities was $3.31 Wednesday – the same as the national average. But drivers in the metro are paying about 15 cents more than they did a week ago.

It could be worse, and certainly has been: Gas averaged $3.65 in Minnesota at this time a year ago.

Meanwhile, Californians are bracing for a 50-cent spike in the next few weeks, putting that state over the $4 average mark.

Prices generally rise in the spring as refineries slow production to conduct seasonal maintenance and get ready for a mandated switchover to summer-grade fuel, Bob Darbelnet, president and CEO of AAA, told the Star Tribune. He told the newspaper that after a spring rise, prices might drop a bit after the maintenance work and the switchover, and maybe land in the $3.30 to $3.40 range for a national average by June.

Among the states, Hawaii had the highest gas prices Wednesday: $4.03. Montana had the lowest average: $3.03.

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Gas prices have come down an average of 18 cents from a week ago, and about 33 cents from one month ago, according to twincitiesgasprices.com. The cheapest gas is in Bloomington (more than a dozen stations had gas in the $3.23-3.29 range.) The three most expensive stations were in South St. Paul ($3.99), North St. Paul ($3.98) and Minneapolis ($3.74).