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Posted: November 20, 2012 12:07 p.m.

Area gas prices rise 3.2 cents in past week

Average retail gasoline prices in the area have risen 3.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.25/gal yesterday. This compares with the national average that has fallen 3.2 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.43/gal, according to gasoline price website AtlantaGasPrices.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Atlanta during the past week, prices yesterday were 1.2 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 30.0 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 26.4 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 6.5 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"With Thanksgiving just days away, Americans will be hitting major thoroughfares en masse. While gasoline prices have dropped in the last month and a half, the national average will still come close to breaking a record — the highest ever national average for Thanksgiving," said GasBuddy.com senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan. "I don’t really see how gas prices could greatly improve between now and Christmas, given the new military action in the Middle East, and other pressures. It’s all but certain the national average will not drop under $3.25 per gallon, which could lead to a perilous start to 2013," DeHaan said.

The rate of decrease is expected to slow as violence in the Middle East has resurfaced concerns of a supply disruption in the region. If tensions continue to escalate between Israel and its neighboring countries, it could reverse the downward trend in oil and gas prices seen during the past few weeks.

"Whenever violence escalates in the Middle East as it has with Israel and its surrounding countries, oil prices are sure to increase," said Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman of The Auto Club Group. "The current conflict overseas means motorists may not see gas prices fall as much as recently forecast. Right now, tensions in the Mideast have increased concerns of oil supply disruptions in the region which have the potential to reverse the downward trends in both oil and gas prices."

A barrel of oil closed Friday at $86.67 — 60 cents more than the week prior.

The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.42, 2 cents less than last week. Florida’s average of $3.33 and Tennessee’s average of $3.15 both dropped 3 cents from last week.

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