It's that time of the year when prices at the pump begin to rise, and drivers may end up seeing the highest gas prices of the year by the end of this month.

Gas prices tend to spike during these weeks, when refineries cut production to conduct seasonal maintenance and begin the switch to more expensive summer blends of gasoline. Both moves reduce supply.

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"Winter weather, weak demand and sufficient supplies have kept gas prices relatively low recently, but this trend may not last much longer," said Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA, which predicts the national average price of gas could peak anywhere from $3.55 to $3.75 per gallon.

"The good news is, here in New Jersey, that's usually a bit less," added Cathleen Lewis, spokesperson for AAA New Jersey.

Another piece of good news: Drivers dealt with higher peak prices in 2013. Last year, the national average increased 49 cents per gallon over 41 days before peaking at $3.79 on Feb. 27.

"The expected springtime rise in gas prices likely will be temporary, but that will not make it any easier to pay $60 or more to fill up your car," Darbelnet said.

Following the spring spike, prices should fall as production returns to normal rates. Strong demand and the risk of hurricanes, though, can lead to another jump in prices during the second half of the summer, according to AAA.

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