WASHINGTON – The U.S. retail price for gasoline climbed to $2.217 a gallon, setting a record for the third week in a row, the government said on Monday.
The national pump price for regular unleaded gasoline jumped 6.4 cents over the past week and is up 44 cents from a year ago, according to a weekly survey of service stations by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (search).
Gasoline prices are up because of higher crude oil costs, which topped a record $58 a barrel on Monday, and due to strong demand for motor fuel. The EIA said pump prices are expected to keep rising through the Memorial Day (search) holiday in late May, the beginning of the busy U.S. summer driving season.
Truckers also paid more to fill up, as the price for diesel fuel increased 5.4 cents to a record $2.303 a gallon, up 66 cents from a year ago, the EIA said.
Truckers on the West Coast paid the most for diesel at $2.541 a gallon, up 5.8 cents from last week. The lower Atlantic states along the East Coast had the cheapest diesel at $2.238 a gallon, up 4.9 cents.
Higher energy prices act as a tax and could hurt the American economy, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow (search) warned on Monday.
"These energy prices are certainly going to take some toll, some effect, on the economic outlook," Snow told a group of tax experts. "I do think the economy is strong ... that we'll push through this," he added.
A new poll shows that a majority of Americans for the first time say higher gasoline prices have hurt them financially. Fifty-eight percent report financial hardship due to record pump prices, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.
Just under half of those surveyed said gasoline prices have forced them to cut back on their driving.