WASHINGTON — The price U.S. drivers paid to fill up at the gasoline pump soared to the highest level in five weeks thanks to rising crude oil costs, the Energy Department said Monday.
The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline increased 8.5 cents over the last week to $2.57 a gallon, down 34 cents from a year ago, the department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly survey of service stations.
It is the most expensive gasoline price since Sept. 14, as higher crude oil prices raised the cost for refiners to make gasoline. Crude oil accounts for more than half the cost consumers pay at the pump.
U.S. crude oil prices gained for the eighth trading day in a row on Monday at the New York Mercantile Exchange, settling close to $80 a barrel, the highest level in a year.
In its weekly price survey, the EIA found the West Coast had the most expensive gasoline at $2.87 a gallon, down 2.4 cents. By city, San Francisco had the highest price at $3.05, down 1.3 cents.
The Gulf Coast states had the lowest regional price at $2.44 a gallon, up 12.3 cents. Houston had the cheapest city pump price at $2.36, up 11.8 cents.
The agency also said gasoline prices were down 3.1 cents at $2.73 in Seattle; up 15.4 cents at $2.67 in Miami; up 10.2 cents at $2.66 in Chicago; up 8.2 cents at $2.56 in New York; up 8.8 cents at $2.56 in Cleveland up 5.2 cents at $2.48 in Boston and up 7.7 cents at $2.41 in Denver.
Separately, the average price for diesel fuel increased 10.5 cents to $2.71 a gallon, the highest since last November but still down 78 cents from a year ago, the EIA said.
The central Atlantic region had the most expensive diesel at $2.83 a gallon, up 10.8 cents. The Gulf Coast region had the cheapest diesel fuel at $2.64, up 11.4 cents.
Copyright 2009 Reuters. click for restrictions