Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.

Gasoline prices have increased about 7% in December and have reached $2.29 per gallon for the week ending Dec. 27 but are still significantly lower than this time in 2014 and 2013, according to AAA.

The average price increased five cents during the week and is 29 cents higher than 2015.

Despite the increasing prices, demand for gasoline is expected to fall sharply in January, which is a typically slow month following a busy holiday travel season, according to AAA.

In 2016, U.S. drivers saved about $27 billion at the pump compared to the same period last year. Most U.S. drivers are expected to pay the second-cheapest New Year’s Day gas prices since 2009, when the national average was $1.62.

Federal data offers similar findings, as the national price of regular unleaded increased 4.5 cents to $2.309 for the week ending Dec. 26. Gasoline is 27.5 cents higher than a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The nation’s top five least expensive markets include South Carolina ($2.04), Mississippi ($2.07), Texas ($2.07), Arkansas ($2.07) and Alabama ($2.08).

The biggest weekly price increases are reflected in Michigan (14 cents), Illinois (13 cents), Wisconsin (12 cents), Ohio (10 cents) and Minnesota (10 cents).

Meanwhile, the average price of diesel increased 1.3 cents to $2.54. Diesel is now 30.5 cents higher than a year ago.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet