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Submitted by WWAY on Mon, 05/18/2009 - 5:16pm.

AAA says more drivers and higher fuel standards are responsible for the increase in summer gas prices, but don't expect the cost to come close to last year's record high.

“It seems like every holiday, gas prices just start sky rocketing,” said Mack Walker.

With Memorial Day weekend fast approaching, it's no different this year. Across the country, the cost of gas is up 25 cents per gallon since May first; the national average has hit $2.31.

In North Carolina and Wilmington the average is a little lower at $2.27. AAA Carolinas says the price increase is a matter of more cars on the road.

“A lot of it is just the demand, and then we'll tend to see right after memorial weekend the prices will drop a little bit.” A 25-cent increase per gallon at the pump means it will cost you about $3.75 more each time you fill up a 15-gallon tank.

While drivers say it hasn't affected their daily routine, it has meant they've cut back on their travel. “Vacation wise, you know we used to go from here to Florida, that's not been the case lately,” said Jackie Calvery.

Still with gas prices expected to top out around $2.50 per gallon this summer, AAA expects more drivers to hit the highways. With prices up and the economy already struggling, people are more willing to shop around for cheap gas prices.

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