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Gas prices in Florida are about to hit their highest levels of the year

While gas prices in Florida inched up in the last week, another steep rise could be on the way.

According to AAA, the average price of gas increased by only a half-cent over the previous week.

But crude and gas futures prices rose to their highest levels of the year, with Friday's price of $82.28 a barrel an increase of $3 from a week earlier.

That increase is expected to be passed on to consumers.

According to a release, motorists across the state could soon be paying more than $3.20 a gallon, and that increase is expected to last through the winter.

"It appears the pain at the pump is going to get worse before it gets better," AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in the release. "Florida drivers are likely to face another round of rising prices, as global supply concerns keep upward pressure on the price of crude.

"It's unclear when the relief at the pump will come, but these elevated prices at the pump are likely to linger through the winter months."

Also contributing to the increase is a natural gas shortage affecting Asia and Europe that has resulted in a spike in prices there.

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area is among the least expensive metro markets in the state with an average price of $3.14 a gallon, according to AAA.

West Palm Beach-Boca Raton motorists are paying the most, at $3.35 a gallon.

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