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Published April 02, 2012, 06:58 PM

Gas Prices Rose Higher in ND Than National Average in March

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - North Dakota gas prices rose 21 cents in March, a bigger jump than the national average. As prices at the pump creep closer to that $4 mark, some people are finding alternate modes of transportation.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - North Dakota gas prices rose 21 cents in March, a bigger jump than the national average. As prices at the pump creep closer to that $4 mark, some people are finding alternate modes of transportation.

Some in Grand Forks say they are worried about gas prices exceeding $4 a gallon, causing more people to find cheaper ways to reach their destination.

Justin Fischer is doing what he can to save a little money. He's taking the bus to school instead of driving.

"Three times a week at least. Well actually six times going to and from college in East Grand," Fischer said.

Fischer is not alone as more and more people are finding alternative ways to get around.

"The higher the price at the pump, the more likely they are to use more wallet-friendly options (like the) bus, bike or some other mode of transportation," Fischer said.

"More people are using public transit. In fact, our ridership is up about 17 percent from last year. I'm sure some of that has to do with gas prices," Cities Area Transit mobility manager Ali Rood said.

Right now in Grand Forks, gas has reached $3.79. According to AAA, the national average is $3.92. The average cost in North Dakota rose 21 cents in March, an increase of three cents more than the national average.

"Even though we do produce oil here and we're producing more and more everyday, we have very limited refinery capacity and the refinery is in Mandan and it's not able to produce the demand. A lot of the oil and gasoline that we're getting here in North Dakota is coming from down south," UND Economics professor Cullen Goenner said.

As summer approaches, prices may continue to rise and even exceed that $4 mark.

"If we look at what gas prices topped out at last year at about $4. We could be looking at $4.35 this summer. It could be a distinct possibility with not being outlandish to think it might go to $4.50," Goenner said.

Gas prices in North Dakota are 19 cents higher than just one year ago.

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