Drivers in the Binghamton area were shocked to see a sudden price hike at gasoline stations.

Virtually overnight, pump prices at most retailers across the region rose 20 cents a gallon.

Many stations in Broome and Tioga counties were displaying prices of $2.45 a gallon for regular Wednesday morning. A few convenience stores along the Vestal Parkway had yet to adjust their prices for the morning commute.

Analyst Patrick DeHaan of said he was "a little bit surprised" by the dramatic increase "all at once."

DeHaan said the price rise is largely the result of unplanned outages at refineries in New Jersey and the Philadelphia area. Maintenance on those facilities along with higher crude oil prices

DeHaan said wholesale prices already had been rising so it was only a matter of time before stations would start passing along their increased costs.

Some additional smaller price hikes are likely in the coming weeks. Prices typically start to rise shortly after Valentine's Day.

For the summer driving season, DeHaan expects gas prices in the Binghamton region may rise to nearly three dollars a gallon for a time.

Gas price predictions can be difficult because refinery issues in the United States or global supply problems can develop suddenly, affecting wholesale and retail fuel costs.

FLASHBACK: Some Binghamton-area motorists paid $1.79 a gallon in February 2016. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph:

For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.