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Tampa area gas prices edge up 3 cents

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Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 02:26 PM
TAMPA -

Gas priced in Tampa crept up a few pennies this week as investors continue to see reason for optimism that the overall economy is heating up.

In turn, they're bidding up the price of oil, and thus the price of gasoline at the pump.

In the Tampa Bay area, a gallon of regular unleaded now averages $3.602, compared with $3.573 last week. Statewide, a gallon averages $3.667, up from $3.617 last week.

"Despite negative news about the job market and consumer sentiment, investors are seemingly optimistic the U.S. economy will start to pick up, a statement made for quite some time with no solid data to support the claims," said Jessica Brady, spokeswoman for AAA Auto Club South.

Everything from the high unemployment rate to the volatile stock market has consumers on edge, she said, and they should prepare themselves for another jolt.

"Oil and gas prices are expected to increase again this week on speculation the Federal Reserve may take action this week to help stimulate the economy," Brady said.

Oil prices closed Friday at $97.49 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange—$1.29 more than the week before.

Meanwhile, total U.S. gasoline consumption is down 1 percent over the last four weeks to 9.23 million barrels a day, according to the Department of Energy.


rmullins@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7919 Twitter: @DailyDeadline

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