NEW YORK – Gasoline prices rose for the second week in a row to an average of about $2.24 a gallon nationwide.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported late Monday that motorists last week paid an average of $2.241 a gallon for regular grade gasoline, up 5 cents from $2.191 the prior week.
Retail gasoline prices are about 5 cents lower than they were at this time last year.
Prices increased the most last week in the Midwest, rising by more than 8 cents to an average of $2.224 a gallon. The most expensive gasoline, though, was still on the West Coast, where a gallon cost $2.536, up from $2.478 the previous week.
The cheapest gasoline remained on the Gulf Coast, where a gallon of regular rose to $2.091 from $2.045 the previous week.
The price of crude oil, which makes up about half the cost of a gallon of gasoline, is down about $20 since peaking above $78 a barrel in July and driving gasoline prices above $3 a gallon last summer. Crude has risen about $8 a barrel, though, since briefly slipping below $50 in mid-January.
Light, sweet crude for March delivery plummeted $2.08 to settle at $57.81 a barrel Monday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gasoline futures dropped 6.21 cents to settle at $1.5527 a gallon.