Bartow, Florida -- Don't look for any relief at the pump going into this holiday weekend.
Although Labor Day Weekend travel is expected to be strong, gas prices around the Bartow area are up sharply due to rising tensions in the Middle East.
Still, retail gas prices are expected to remain below last year's holiday average of $3.83 nationally, when close to 33 million Americans traveled during Labor Day weekend.
"Last year during this time, Tropical Storm Isaac drove gas prices close to $4 a gallon after Gulf refineries were forced to shut down," said Jessica Brady, The Auto Club Group AAA spokeswoman.
This year, more than 34 million people are forecast to travel as the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is about 20 cents less than last year.
Gas prices had been dropping steadily since mid July, with motorists in the Southeast paying some of the lowest prices in the nation.
But increased tensions near Syria have pushed prices up 15 cents or more at some Bartow fueling stations in just the past week.
To find some of the lowest fuel prices in your area, just visit www.wtsp.com/gas.