MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida gas prices are beginning to inch higher as Florida eases restrictions, causing a growing number of people to hit the road.

Gasoline demand is now only 30% lower than a year ago, compared to the 50-75% deficit seen just weeks ago during the height of Florida’s stay-at-home order.

Gas prices in Florida increased last week, just slightly, for the first time in 10 weeks. After sinking to a 4-year low, the state average rose a penny to $1.77 per gallon. The state average is now 1-cent more than a week ago, yet 5 cents less than last month and 89 cents less than this time last year.

“Small increases at the pump will become a more common sight in the coming weeks, as Floridians hit the road to visit businesses and beaches,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “The increased demand has cut into excess supplies which restores upward pressure on prices at the pump.”

According to the EIA, US gasoline demand has climbed 40% in the past five weeks. Although US gasoline production increased 11% last week, supplies declined 4% during the past three weeks.

Growing fuel demand has restored optimism in the crude oil market. The price for US oil hit a 9-week high Friday – settling at $29.43 per barrel.

Friday’s closing price was nearly 20 percent higher than the week before. Wholesale gasoline prices also jumped 6 cents per gallon during the past week.