By Caroline Vandergriff

IRVING, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Gas prices in Texas hit a seven-year high Thursday, July 8 according to AAA Texas Weekend Gas Watch.

The statewide average is now $2.81 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel.

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“It’s getting to be ridiculous,” said Bryan Mieure, as he gassed up his car in Irving.

According to AAA Texas, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas has increased nearly 45% since the start of the year.

“People have been pent up,” said Danial Armbruster with AAA Texas. “They want to travel. They want to go on road trips.”

The higher demand, combined with more expensive crude oil, has caused the prices at the pump to skyrocket to the most expensive level since 2014.

On this day last year, the statewide gas price average was 93 cents lower per gallon.

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“It makes it hard to get out and travel, spend time with family – now that we kind of can,” Mieure said. “Road trips are out of the question right now with this going on.”

AAA expects prices to go up at least another 20 to 30 cents this summer, which means we’re most likely not going to see any relief at the pump until after September.

“Gas prices typically go down in the fall,” Armbruster said. “We switch over to winter blend gasoline. It’s cheaper to produce.”

Until then, a lot of drivers will be watching their mileage more closely.

“I used to work in north Dallas and now my commute is only like five minutes or so, so that’s really a bonus because I can go a couple weeks before having to fill up,” Kim O’Dell said, who lives in Irving.

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Drivers in Texas are still paying some of the cheapest gas prices in the U.S. According to AAA Texas, the state ranks third lowest in the country.

Caroline Vandergriff