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Today’s national gas average of $2.81 is 43 cents higher than last year and the loftiest price per gallon since November 2014. That year, pump prices averaged $3.34, peaking at $3.70 in April and bottoming out at $2.25 in December.

This year’s pump prices will not be reminiscent of 2014, but motorists are beginning to take notice of the higher prices, according to AAA.

In North Dakota, the statewide average is 14 cents less than the national average, according to AAA’s daily gas price survey. At $2.67, the price is 33 cents higher than one year ago. The average price in Bismarck is at $2.74 today.

Gas prices are expected to continue to rise with the approach of the busy summer driving season. An increase of as much as 10 cents nationally and 15 cents in North Dakota is expected leading to the Memorial Day weekend.

U.S. crude oil exports surged to 2.331 million barrels per day last week — the highest weekly estimate ever on record from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The record is a direct result of the federal ban on crude exports being lifted in 2015. To keep pace, crude production is likely to continue to increase alongside the total number of active drilling rigs. According to Baker Hughes, the total number of rigs increased by five last week, bringing the total to 825. There are 128 more rigs this year than last year at this time.

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