WASHINGTON – The average U.S. weekly retail gasoline price soared to a record $3.069 cents per gallon, up 45.9 cents from last week, due to the impact of Hurricane Katrina (search), the Energy Information Administration (search) said Tuesday.
U.S. gasoline supplies will remain tight for weeks because of disrupted fuel supplies, the EIA's administrator said Tuesday.
The new weekly average is close to the inflation-adjusted high of $3.12 a gallon in March 1981.
The EIA surveys U.S. gasoline stations each week to compile an average nationwide pump price. Last week, the average was $2.61 per gallon.
One year ago, the national average was $1.22 per gallon lower, according to the EIA.
Crude oil prices are typically responsible for roughly half the cost of gasoline. Soon after Katrina slammed into Louisiana and Mississippi one week ago, the U.S. crude oil price set a record high of $70.85 a barrel.
Crude prices eased to $65.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange (search) on Tuesday.
"We expect (the supply situation) to remain that way for the next several weeks," EIA administrator Guy Caruso told a Senate Energy Committee (search) hearing on the effect Hurricane Katrina is having on gasoline prices.
Caruso also said retail heating oil prices will be 30 percent higher this winter compared with a year earlier, and that he expects the U.S. natural gas market to "remain tight" this winter.