Susquehanna Valley gas prices rose almost eight cents to $3.58 a gallon this week, according to AAA East Central.

On the national front

Tuesday's national average was $3.37. This is six cents higher than a week ago and eight cents more than a month ago, but it is 36 cents less than one year ago.

Pump prices have historically trended higher in springtime due to seasonal factors including rising demand, refinery maintenance and the changeover to more expensive summer-blend gasoline. This seasonal increase was amplified in both 2011 and 2012 by international unrest and subsequent global oil production concerns that sent crude oil prices higher.

In 2013, the spring increase was even more pronounced but, instead of international catalysts, was attributed to domestic issues at regional refineries, which raised domestic gasoline production worries and sent retail prices sharply higher.

AAA expects national gas prices to continue to rise this spring; however, with more than half of February already in the books and barring a similar unexpected market moving event (or series of events), it is likely that sticker shock in 2014 will be less severe for motorists than in recent years.

Crude oil prices had been relatively stable to begin the year; however, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) settled above $100 per barrel for the first time since October last Monday. This trend continued Tuesday as WTI settled up $2.13 at $102.43 per barrel, which is the highest close since October 10.

(AAA East Central - a not-for-profit association with 82 local offices in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, New York and Kentucky servicing 2.7 million members - provides Fuel Gauge each week.)

This week's Susquehanna Valley average price - $3.578

Average price during the week of Feb. 11, 2014 - $3.500

Average price during the week of Feb. 19, 2013 - $3.804

The following is a list of the average price of unleaded self-serve gasoline in various areas:

Lewisburg - $3.555

Mifflinburg - $3.567

Milton - $3.571

Selinsgrove - $3.595

Shamokin - $3.580

Sunbury - $3.598