Drivers statewide are now paying an average of $4.56 for a gallon of gas, up 9 cents from last month, when many cities saw 50-cent increases, the automobile association reported.The California average represents the highest in the continental U.S., Alaska being the most expensive in the country at $4.63. Gas is now, on average, costing Californians $1.43 per gallon more than at the same time a year ago, according to AAA. In the Bay Area, prices also jumped this month to an average of $4.59, up 14 cents from June, according to AAA. In Oakland, the average is $4.61; in San Francisco, $4.60; and in San Jose, $4.55. AAA spokesman Michael Geeser attributes the rise to the struggling U.S. dollar, whose value has dropped in comparison with international currencies, he said. The growing demand for gas and oil from Asia is also a factor, Geeser said. And while gas prices usually drop after the Fourth of July, the continued high price of crude oil will likely keep gas prices rising for some time, Geeser said. The national average for a gallon of gas is now $4.11, up 7 cents from last month, AAA reported.
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