NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Gas prices have risen at the beginning of each year since the economic collapse, and 2013 has been no exception, according to released data.

At one New Jersey gas station, drivers are paying $3.47 ($3.55 for credit card users) for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline. In New York, gas prices have increased as much as 20 cents since the New Year began.

Industry experts say that the blame can be placed on speculators.

“They are bidding that as the driving season approaches…the general public is going to increase their demand,” said Sal Risvalto of the New Jersey Gasoline C-Store Automotive Association.

Risvalto said that speculation regarding crisis’ in the Middle East and superstorm Sandy’s impact on the Jersey Shore also pay a role in the increased price at the pump.

Last year, New Jersey set an all-time record for high gas prices with drivers paying an average of $3.32 per gallon.

Statistics show that gas prices are expected to go down around May or June.

A spokesperson for the American Petroleum Institute representing oil and natural gas companies said drivers are paying more for gas because the price of crude oil has increased 13 cents in the past month. The organization added that instability in the Middle East also plays a role in increased gas prices.

How are you coping with gas prices on the rise? Let us know in the comments section below…

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