WASHINGTON – U.S. drivers had a modest reprieve at the pump as the average gasoline price fell 2.8 cents to $2.289 a gallon, the second weekly decline after hitting a record high earlier this month, the U.S. government said on Monday.
The national average pump price for regular unleaded remains 38.4 cents higher than one year ago, according to a weekly survey of more than 800 service stations by the Energy Information Administration (search) (EIA).
Gasoline prices reached a record high of about $2.38 a gallon two weeks ago as crude oil prices crossed the $62 a barrel level. However, when adjusted for inflation, the most expensive price at the pump was $3.08 a gallon in March 1981.
Crude oil prices, responsible for half the cost of a gallon of gasoline, have risen in recent months amid high global demand and limited refinery capacity. Crude for September delivery settled at $59 a barrel, up 35 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange (search).
The government's weekly retail gasoline report showed the average U.S. pump price was highest on the West Coast, where prices rose 0.1 cents to an average of $2.497 per gallon.
The Gulf Coast region had the cheapest gasoline, falling 1.8 cents to $2.207 a gallon during the last week, EIA said.
Among the 10 major urban areas highlighted by EIA, Houston pump prices were the cheapest at $2.192 per gallon, down 0.8 cents. The most expensive city was San Francisco where prices declined 2.0 cents to $2.578.
The national price for cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline, sold at about one-third of the stations in cities and smoggier areas, fell 0.8 cents to $2.403 a gallon.
U.S. truckers saw retail diesel prices drop 5.0 cents to an average $2.342 per gallon last week, EIA said. The average cost for a gallon of diesel is 58.8 cents per gallon higher than it was one year ago.