MONROE — Gas prices in the United States have reached an average of $3,20 per gallon — their highest level in seven years — after the national average rose by 2 cents per gallon on Monday (Oct. 4), according to gasprices.aaa.com.

“Global economic uncertainty and supply chain concerns caused by the lingering COVID-19 pandemic could be playing a role in keeping crude oil prices elevated,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, in a statement released Monday. “But, there may be some relief on the horizon due to the news that OPEC and its allies might ramp up production increases faster than previously agreed.”

The national average of $3.20 per gallon is up by $1.02 from the same time last year, according to American Automobile Association (AAA).

The average price of $3.01 for a gallon of gas in North Carolina is about 19 cents less than the national average, according to AAA, and the average price in Union County is hovering around $2.90.

Within Union County, gasbuddy.com reports four stores are tied for the cheapest gas price, which is $2.77, including: BP (1004 N. Charlotte Ave. in Monroe), Exxon & Circle K (1692 W. Franklin St. in Monroe), Murphy USA (14049 Independence Blvd. in Indian Trail) and QuikTrip (5650 W. US-74 in Indian Trail).