COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) --Central Ohio gas prices are nearly 5 cents a gallon higher than they were a week ago, and one oil industry analyst says drivers may be dealing with more spikes in the weeks ahead.

According to, the region's average for a gallon of unleaded regular is $3.48.

The national average increased 5 cents in the past week to $3.34 a gallon while AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report shows Ohio's average at $3.44, up from last week's $3.40 a gallon. 

"After weeks of relative stability with little change in gas price nationally, we've seen a new trend develop that has sent the national average to its highest level since mid-October," said Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan.

"Oil prices have recently surpassed $100 a barrel, a $6 per barrel jump since we began 2014, and unfortunately this new trend may signal the beginning of 'March Madness', the time of year that brings large spikes in gas prices. Very few stations have gasoline under $3 a gallon, and I expect those few stations will all but dry up over the next couple weeks", DeHaan says.

DeHaan says don't be surprised to see the national average rise as much as 50 cents a gallon by the time gasoline prices peak in April or May, ahead of the start of the summer driving season.  That usually brings a switch to the more expensive, cleaner burning summer gasoline.