Motorists were faced last week with something they haven't seen in several weeks: rising gasoline prices. According to GasBuddy.com, the national average made slight gains, rising a penny and a half versus where they stood the prior week. The U.S. national average stood at $3.21/gal, while in Canada prices averaged 121.4c/L, also a rise over the last week.

The tough part of the recent surprise rise is whether the trend will last to the upside or if this is just a temporary blip on the path to lower gasoline prices.

GasBuddy had been expecting the national average to bottom out between Thanksgiving and Christmas, as it has for the last several years. If prices have already bottomed out, it would go along with the fact that most trends in gas prices this year have come early: the run up to summer saw prices start rising in February, much earlier than the usual March start.

Even with the slight increase in price, there are plenty of stations selling gasoline under $3/gal across the nation. Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana all still had their state averages under $3/gal, while six additional states are less than a nickle away from that.

This week, we may see another small increase in the national average as stations face last week's slight uptick in wholesale prices. However, it is possible that after this week's expected rise we return to seeing decreases at pumps.