Susquehanna Valley gas prices increased almost six cents to $3.67 a gallon this week, according to AAA East Central.

On the national front

Tuesday's national average price at the pump was $3.64 per gallon. This is six cents more expensive than one week ago, 13 cents more than one month ago, and 12 cents more per gallon than the same date last year.

Last Wednesday, for the first time since Jan. 17, the national average registered higher than the same date the year prior. Motorists in the majority of states are now paying a year-over-year premium. The most dramatic premiums are in and around the Midwest, where drivers in four states pay an average price more than 20 cents per gallon above this date last year: Illinois +23 cents; Kentucky +25 cents; Ohio +28 cents; and Indiana +29 cents.

Each spring refiners are required to switch to producing summer-blend gasoline by May 1. Refineries tend to drawdown their supplies of gasoline at this time of year so as not to be left with winter-blend fuel that they can no longer sell after May 1. This has been on display in recent weeks, as gasoline stocks nationwide have tightened.

International geopolitical issues continue to keep global crude oil prices elevated. Tensions remain heightened in Ukraine following Russia's annexation of Crimea and there are concerns that sanctions imposed by Western countries might impact exports from Russia. Additionally, while two Libyan ports have reopened in recent days, returning some of that country's oil production to the global market, reports that Prime Minister Abdullah Theni has asked to resign following threats to his family are a reminder that significant tensions remain. At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX Monday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled 31 cents higher at $104.05 per barrel.

(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.)