TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gas prices have increased to pre-pandemic levels in New Jersey and around the nation, analysts say.

AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average price of a gallon of regular gas in New Jersey on Friday was $2.52, up eight cents from a week ago. Drivers were paying an average of $2.63 a gallon a year ago at this time.

The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $2.37, up seven cents from last week. Drivers were paying an average of $2.57 a gallon a year ago at this time.

Analysts say prices have increased amid low demand and an increase in refinery utilization. Prices are expected to keep increasing due to market optimism that coronavirus vaccines will help crude demand recover this year as well as a report indicating a decline in total domestic crude inventories.