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Last-minute 'cliff' deal pushes gas prices higher

Monday - 1/7/2013, 4:09am  ET

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - There's another side effect of the last-minute deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff" -- higher gas prices.

Prices for gasoline in the D.C. area jumped 5 cents in the past week with unleaded regular checking in at $3.42 a gallon. That's 7 cents higher than this time a year ago.

John Townsend, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, says the deal that averted the "fiscal cliff" last week produced some stability in the eyes of investors.

"On the Main Street of Washington, which is Pennsylvania Avenue, it brought stability to Wall Street, and that means higher prices at the pump for all of us," says Townsend.

The cost of filling up your tank in 2012 was the highest ever with a yearly average of $3.60 a gallon nationwide.

AAA says Superstorm Sandy, refinery outages and tension in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East contributed to keeping prices high.

Will 2013 be even more expensive?

"We don't think so, but remember, we didn't think 2012 would top 2011," says Townsend.

Current and past gas prices from AAA

Current Week Ago Year Ago
D.C. Metro $3.42 $3.37 $3.35
D.C. Only $3.53 $3.51 $3.48
National $3.30 $3.29 $3.37

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