TRENTON, N.J. — Drivers in New Jersey are seeing higher prices at the pump with the advent of spring.

AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average price of a gallon of regular gas Friday in the state was $2.61, five cents higher than last week. Motorists were paying $2.28 a gallon at this time last year.

The national average gas price Friday was $2.59, up six cents from last week. A year ago, drivers across the nation were paying an average of $2.29 for a gallon of regular gas.

Analysts say strong demand for gasoline, rising crude oil prices and declining gasoline inventories are pushing prices higher, and drivers should expect them to inch even higher heading into April.