It’s happening again.

It’s not even close to the summer driving season — in fact, it’s not even springtime — but as surely as February gives way to March, gas prices have begun their annual assent.

The average price for a gallon of regular is now $3.53 a gallon, according to AAA. That’s 17 cents higher than it was just a week ago, and 23 cents higher than last month.

In parts of Los Angeles, drivers are already paying more than $5 a gallon.

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