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Minnesota gas prices jump 40 cents

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It's a little early for spring gas price spikes. But prices have jumped 40 cents in a month in Minnesota, and analysts say part of the blame can be placed on our neighbor to the north.

The Minnesota average for gas Friday was $3.46, which is 2 cents higher than the national average, according to Minnesota Gas Prices.

One month ago, the Minnesota average was $3.05 (compared to a $3.27 national average).

Why the spike?

One reason is that the nation is importing more gas from Canada this winter, and Canada's gas is more expensive, Gail Weinholzer of AAA in Minneapolis, told the Pioneer Press this week.

Another issue is that six U.S. refineries are closed for a variety of reasons, including two in the Chicago area that provide gas to parts of Minnesota, Weinholzer told the newspaper.

The Twin Cities metro has seen an even steeper spike in its average than the state – gas was $3.03 a month ago and nearly $3.48 average in the metro on Friday, according to Twin Cities Gas Prices.

But here's some good news: Analysts think the national average gas price for 2013 should be lower than it was in 2012, USA Today reported. The average for U.S. gas was $3.60 last year, a record, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Department of Energy's projections: $3.44 U.S. average for 2013 and $3.34 U.S. average for 2014.

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