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Expect Higher Gas Prices Over Independence Day Weekend

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If you are traveling the highways over the July 4th holiday weekend, prepare to pay more at the pump. Prices will be higher than last year, mainly due to uncertainty in the Middle East.

"I think the overall problem with Iraq is that it's causing crude oil prices to go up and that's driving up wholesale gasoline prices," said Mike Right, senior vice president of public affairs for AAA Missouri.

"St. Louis is a peculiar market in that they pass along price increases instantly from the wholesale level down to the consumer."

Nationally, AAA expects the highest Independence Day gas prices in six years. The conflict in Iraq is leading to an increase of 15-to-20 cents per gallon.

But there is some good news. The organization believes the national average will remain relatively flat in the near future and could drop a few cents if Iraq stabilizes. The AAA Monthly Gas Price Report suggests the conflict probably won't cause more spikes at the pump, unless "there are major developments in Iraq or in the southern oil producing regions."

Prices in St. Louis are roughly five cents less than the national average and Right says usually they are 10-to-15 cents lower.

"That's the market. We turn over gasoline quite rapidly in St. Louis as opposed to some of the more rural areas," Right said.

Updated gas prices information can be found at AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

Wayne is the morning newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio.

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