Gas prices predicted to rise as much as 20 cents by Sunday

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- An organization that tracks gas prices predicts a 5- to 20-cent price jump in Greensboro by Sunday.

Gas Buddy predicted gas prices here also could reach $4.50 a gallon by Memorial Day.

"It depends on the local market conditions," said Jason Toews, co-founder of Gas Buddy. "Some areas are going to go up 20 cents per gallon, and some areas as much as 5 cents per gallon. It's going to continue to rise. All stations are going to be higher by Memorial Day."

Towes predicts there won't be much price relief here until Labor Day.

While officials at AAA of the Carolinas agree gas prices are going up, they say it won't happen as quickly as Gas Buddy predicts.

"We've been watching gas prices for about 12 years now, so we've got a good history and a good feel on what impacts gas prices and how much they're going to go up," Toews said. "We're seeing wholesale prices go up by 20 cents in Chicago, and the retailers need to pass these higher prices onto the consumer."

Gas Buddy said the price increase right now is due to maintenance shutdowns at three refineries in eastern Pennsylvania, and a fire at a BP-owned refinery in Washington State could also have ripple effects.

AAA officials said gas comes to the Piedmont via pipeline from the Gulf Coast to the tank farm in Greensboro.

Currently, the average cost of gas in the Piedmont is $3.65 a gallon, according to AAA. That's 21 cents more than a month ago and 54 cents more than a year ago.

Gas Buddy provides the Gas Price Tracker service for