Antwan Harris / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS The pain at the pump has been nothing more than a slight sting this winter for drivers as gas prices are much lower this year.

Right now, gas in the New Orleans area is $3.17 for a gallon of regular unleaded.

Last year at this time it was almost 50-cents higher.

That is the type of trend AAA said will continue for the spring and summer, which is considered 'the driving season.'

Gas prices will be on the rise, but tye won't break the bank.

Don Redman of AAA Insurance said, 'Sometimes it peaks in March or April. Last year it peaked in February. We are not expecting that.'

Redman said gas prices usually rise 50-60 cents during the peak season so they expect prices to hover below $4 per gallon.

For some drivers, where the rubber meets the road is an expensive part of their business and any price increase calls for a new budget.

'No, I am not looking forward to it,' construction worker Mike McDonald said. 'I travel all the time and gas prices affect me wherever I go.'

'It definitely costs us a lot more. I am a fisherman and we have to pass that cost on to the customer,' added David Wilkinson, a fisherman who drives to New Orleans from Mississippi every day.

Over the next few weeks expect to see a gradual increase as production for the new summer blend of gasoline is ramped up.

It's all an effort to reduce pollution as millions of cars are expected on roadways this summer.

'The summer grade gasoline has to be in place by May 1 and it is less volatile and it burns cleaner so there is a big transition from winter grade gasoline,' Redman said.

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