Gas prices at stations along the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway jumped up 8 cents per gallon Friday, marking yet another week of hikes that is forcing tri-state residents to reach deeper into their pockets.
The average price of regular gasoline jumped to $3.61 per gallon at 7 a.m. Though prices in New York and Connecticut did not go up today, drivers in those states already suffer more pain at the pump than their Jersey counterparts, with prices per gallon averaging $3.97 and $3.98, respectively.
Across the tri-state area, fuel prices have risen about an average of 36 cents over the last year, part of a nationwide trend of steepening prices. According to the AAA, gas across the country has jumped an average of 30 cents per gallon over the last month alone. The national average now stands at $3.74 for a gallon of regular gas, up 32 cents from last year.
Analysts say the rising prices are mostly due to tensions in the Middle East, rising crude oil prices and market speculation.
Drivers at The Alexander Hamilton Rest Area off the NJ Turnpike say the seemingly ever-increasing costs are tough to bear, but they don't have a choice.
"You got to do what you got to do. I just pay it and worry about it later," said driver Barbara Swisher.
In New York, Sen. Chuck Schumer hopes that a quick resolution of a federal probe into gas-price fixing at oil refineries could curtail the continuous rise in prices.
The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating since last year whether gas prices have been kept artificially high.
Schumer, along with Missouri Sen. Clair McCaskill of Missouri are pushing to wrap up the probe, saying that action could be taken to reduce prices if there is evidence refineries are keeping gas prices solely for profit.