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Never mind the oil spill, gas prices always go up in May

Along with Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day and Memorial Day, May brings higher gasoline prices at the pump as we creep toward summer.

And that's exactly what happened Tuesday in Wichita and across the country.

Regular unleaded gas averaged $2.80 a gallon in Wichita, for an increase of 6 cents over Monday, according to

The range was more dramatic, jumping 20 cents to Tuesday's high of $2.89 from the previous day's low of $2.69. Prices of $2.85 were routine for the area.

Nationally, gasoline prices averaged $2.93, a 7-cent jump from Monday.

A month ago, the average Wichita price was $2.71.

"This is a traditional time when it runs up," said Jim Haney, executive vice president for AAA in Kansas.

And, yes, $3 gasoline is still a strong possibility before the summer is over.

But the good news is prices will dip some — probably by the end of this week — before they resume their gradual climb.

Gasoline futures for June were "taking a beating" Tuesday, dropping 10 to 11 cents to the $2.30 to $2.35 range, said Darin Newsom, a senior market analyst for the Omaha-based Internet trading firm Telvent DTN.

The pump price for gasoline is usually 30 cents to 45 cents higher than the futures price, Newsom said.

"So by the end of the week we'll begin to see local cash prices come down a little bit as well," he said.

But he doesn't expect the drop to be more than 8 cents to 11 cents.

"It won't come off as fast as it went on," Newsom said. "It never does."

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