Gas prices hit highest this year in South Mississippi

A 10-cent spike in the price of a gallon of gasoline last week shot the average in South Mississippi to $2 on Monday -- the highest rate of the year.

AAA Fuel Gauge shows the average price across the state also was $2 Monday, which is well below the national average of $2.22.

Despite the jump last week, South Mississippi drivers paid 41 cents less a gallon to fill up their tanks on Monday than on May 2, 2015.

Gas prices started the year at an average of $1.74 at Coast gas stations and dropped every week until Feb. 15. At that point, the price hit an average of $1.50 a gallon and began climbing.

"Gasoline prices in all 50 states saw a rise over the last week -- an average of over 8 cents," said Patrick DeHaan, a Chicago-based senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. Gasoline prices may continue inching up until Memorial Day, he said, which is a major test to determine if refiners are prepared for the summer driving season.

"Americans appear ripe to consume near record levels of gasoline, if not the highest levels ever this summer with some of the lowest summer prices seen in ten years or so," he said.