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Gas prices surging in Chicago, nationwide in Harvey’s wake

"We haven’t raised our gas tax in nearly 30 years," a top mayoral aide noted on Tuesday. | File photo

Gasoline prices rose several cents Thursday into Friday amid continuing fears of shortages in Texas and other states in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey’s strike on the Gulf Coast.

At least two major fuel pipelines — one that ships gasoline across the southern United States and to New York, and another that flows north to Chicago — have been slowed or stopped because of flooding and damage.

The national average for a gallon of regular gas rose in one day from $2.45 Thursday to $2.52 Friday, the American Automobile Association reported. The last time the national gas-price average was $2.50 was in August 2015, according to AAA.

In the Chicago metro area, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded stood at $2.65 on Friday. That’s up 3 cents from the day before, nearly a dime from a week ago, 15 cents from a month ago and 19 cents from a year ago, according to AAA.

Within the city limits, the average price was $2.79 a gallon, up 12 cents from a year ago.

Despite the rise in gas prices, AAA spokeswoman Beth Mosher said vehicle travel during the Labor Day holiday weekend is expected to be “robust.”

Mosher added that travel during the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays “set records” and “we would think that that robust travel would continue into the Labor Day holiday.”

The same goes for air travel. The Chicago Department of Aviation said it expects 1.7 million travelers to pass through O’Hare and Midway airports over the holiday weekend.

Contributing: Sam Charles