FARMINGTON — Gas prices have jumped in the Four Corners ahead of the usual spring price increases.
Retail gasoline prices surged 15 cents on average in Durango in only a week. The average price for regular gasoline hit $3.146 per gallon on Friday, up from $2.993 a week earlier, according to AAA.
Similar price increases were seen throughout the region.
Gas prices often rise in the spring as demand increases and refineries switch back to a costlier, cleaner-burning mixture. But the annual trend is getting an early start this year.
Local drivers are taking notice.
Lita Henderson, 22, said costlier gasoline has taken a bite out of her budget. She commutes to Farmington from Newcomb, about 60 miles each way.
"It's taking up a lot of money," she said.
Henderson was filling up at Smith's at 20th Street and Butler, where $27 bought her 8.5 gallons. She joked that she can't complain, because the gas gets her from one place to another.
Michaela Yazzie, 19, said she drives less when prices go up. On Friday, she turned off the pump when the price hit $15.
"I'll probably go to less places," she said.
AAA does not publish gas prices for Farmington, but the website Gasbuddy.com reported most stations were advertising $3.16 to $3.21 per gallon. Smith's was on the less expensive end at $3.11 per gallon.
Gas prices tend to be higher in Farmington than in bigger cities such as Albuquerque.
Across the U.S., gasoline jumped 13 cents in the past week to $3.46 per gallon on average.
In Albuquerque, regular gasoline jumped 10 cents in a week, up to $3.033 by Friday.
Diesel prices are also on the rise. The fuel, which is heavily used in the San Juan Basin, rose 8 cents to $3.868 per gallon in Durango and 5 cents to $3.829 in Albuquerque, according to AAA.