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Gas hits $4 at some Mitchell stations

The price of gas at some filling stations in Mitchell has surpassed $4 per gallon for the first time since the summer of 2008.

The Daily Republic recorded the price of regular unleaded gasoline at 15 filling stations Friday in Mitchell and found the average cost per gallon to be $3.88. But four stations near Interstate 90 all advertised a cost per gallon of $4.05.

The statewide average cost per gallon Friday was $3.903, higher than the national average of $3.833.

In March, the price per gallon at some stations in Mitchell reached $3.99, but never exceeded $4. It's the first time gas prices have reached $4 per gallon in Mitchell since 2008, when, amid an economic crisis and skyrocketing crude oil prices, the statewide average in South Dakota reached a record high of $4.091 per gallon on July 18, 2008.

AAA South Dakota Vice President Rob Angerhofer said the recent spike in gas prices is linked to the rising cost of crude oil, which is being driven higher by unrest in the Middle East.

"As crude goes up, gas goes up," Angerhofer said. "Things should stabilize here in the next couple weeks depending on what happens in the Middle East."

Though he warned gas prices are incredibly difficult to predict, Angerhofer projects prices will likely return to around $3.70 per gallon in the area by the end of October. Until then, he said, it's "very possible" prices could approach, or even exceed, record highs.