By Amy Kawata

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With the country on the move again and in the midst of summer travel season, prices at the gas pump are on the rise.

While Maryland sits below the national average of $3.14, if you’ve filled up your gas tank lately, you may have not have noticed the prices at the pump change too much here locally. But they are up compared to earlier this year.

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If you think the average of $3 is high here in Maryland, experts say you should brace yourself and expect to pay even more to fill up your tanks at least through the end of August.

“Not happy about it. Definitely sucks,” said Hunter Eller.

Eller is just one of many Marylanders forced to dig a little deeper into his pockets to fill up his tank lately.

“It used to cost a lot less to fill up,” he said.

AAA reports the national gas price average is up 40% since the beginning of the year — and drivers are taking notice.

“Pretty much about $30 would fill it up,” said Devin Dixon. “But now it’s about half a tank for $25, so it’s going up tremendously.”

“Especially when I’m with friends we argue a lot more about whose driving now,” Eller said.

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The cause? Experts point to the rising demand for gas as the economy reopens.

“But due to the pandemic, which caused oil production to decline, we’re faced with basically a shortage of supply,” Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.com.

Here in Maryland, data from AAA shows gas prices have remained steady at about $3 a gallon. Still up from $2.25 a gallon this time last year.

But AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Ragina Ali says there’s no sign of letting up anytime soon.

“It’s likely that crude oil prices could continue to increase at least through the week,” Ali said.

In the meantime, drivers are remaining optimistic to save some money towards gas this summer.

“I don’t see it happening anytime soon, but I’m hoping it does,” Eller said.

“I have a newborn, so we have a lot of doctors’ appointments and a lot of traveling to do,” Dixon said. “So trying to save, but it’s not really happening.”

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AAA is also projecting we could see a 10 to 20 cent increase in prices at the pump through the end of summer driving season in August.