DoE: Gasoline Price at Second-Highest Level Ever

The average price U.S. consumers pay to fill their cars with gasoline climbed to the second highest level ever, and is less than a penny from the all-time record, the government said Monday.

The national pump price for regular unleaded gasoline increased 5.7 cents over the last week to an average $2.056 a gallon, up 33 cents from a year ago, according to a survey of service stations by the Energy Information Administration (search).

The current record gasoline price is $2.064 a gallon set last May. The EIA has forecast the pump price will rise above $2.15 a gallon later this spring. When adjusted for inflation, gasoline cost the most in March 1981 at $3.08 a gallon, according to the agency.

Rising gasoline prices are pinching the pocketbooks of U.S. consumers, who have less to spend on other goods and services.

High crude oil costs are helping to push up pump prices. The price for oil Monday at the New York Mercantile Exchange (search) settled up 52 cents at $54.95 a barrel.

The West Coast had the most expensive regular unleaded gasoline, with the price up 5.4 cents to $2.228 a gallon. Los Angeles topped the EIA's survey of cities, with the price of gasoline up 4.9 cents to $2.329 a gallon.

The Gulf Coast (search) states had the cheapest fuel, with the price up 6.8 cents to $1.968 per gallon. Among major U.S. cities, Houston had the lowest pump price, with fuel up 7.1 cents to $1.91 a gallon.

The weekly report also showed gasoline prices were up 7.4 cents to $2.132 in Seattle, up 8.4 cents to $2.124 in Miami, up 4.3 cents to $2.121 in Chicago, up 2.5 cents to $2.095 in Cleveland, up 7.1 cents to $2.054 in Denver and up 4.7 cents to $1.973 in New York City.

Truckers are suffering too as the price for diesel fuel increased 2.6 cents to $2.194 a gallon this week, up 58 cents from a year ago and the third highest diesel price on record.

Truckers on the West Coast paid the most for diesel fuel at $2.44 a gallon, down almost a penny from the prior week. The Gulf Coast states along the East Coast had the cheapest diesel at $2.13 a gallon, up 3 cents.