The national gas price average has increased nearly 20 cents since the beginning of the year, which is the largest jump during the January-February timeframe since 2015, according to AAA.

The average price in Arkansas has risen about 4 cents a gallon in the past week and was $2.18 on Monday.

Pump prices rose steadily across the country in February when a number of refineries underwent planned and unplanned maintenance, AAA stated in its weekly fuel report. There was also an increase in crude oil prices.

The national average is now about $2.42 a gallon, which is 3 cents more than last week and 17-cents more than a month ago, but 10 cents cheaper than a year ago.

“Pump prices have been pushed higher this week due to reduced gasoline stock levels and increased demand,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Motorists can expect gas prices to continue to increase as refineries gear up for spring gasoline production and maintenance season.”

Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, noted in his weekly analysis that “rumors of a U.S.-China trade deal may push oil prices higher as it would likely lead to increasing economic growth rates in both countries and pushing demand for oil higher.”

DeHaan points to another potential 20-cent hike over the next two months. And it could be higher if any refinery kinks arise.

“We'll still be in good shape for summer gas prices to be under their year ago levels, so all is not lost,” DeHaan writes.