It’s the dead of winter and Minnesotans are driving much less, especially compared to summertime, but gasoline prices are defying the basic lessons of economics by rising, even though demand is falling. Triple-A Minnesota spokeswoman Meredith Mitts says crude oil prices are setting the bar.

“In the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen an increase in total stocks and a decrease in demand which typically puts downward pressure on those pump prices. But because we are seeing these rising crude oil prices, the pump prices continue to go up.”

Mitts says part of the reason for the higher prices is the rising tension between Russia and Ukraine.  The average price for a gallon of unleaded in Minnesota is hovering around 3.30 a gallon.