Gas prices in Iowa have climbed to their highest level in nearly a year and a half. Gail Weinholzer with Triple-A Iowa says a gallon of regular unleaded fuel is averaging $2.75. That’s the highest mark since October 2008. Iowa’s still five-cents below the national average, but prices have been on a steady climb over the past month.

“Crude is selling for more than $82 a barrel, so that’s forcing up some prices we’re seeing at the pump,” Weinholzer said. “We also expect a bit of a bump yet this spring due to the switch from the winter to the summer grade fuel.” The start of the summer driving season is still several weeks away and that increase in demand will likely lead to another price hike.

“I think there’s certainly a strong likelihood that we’ll pop $3.00 a gallon as an average across the country and maybe in Iowa as well prior to the Memorial Day weekend,” Weinholzer said. On Thursday, the average price for a gallon of gas in Des Moines and Sioux City was $2.68, while Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Davenport were around $2.76 – according to Triple-A’s survey.