WASHINGTON – The price U.S. motorists paid for gasoline jumped 4.1 cents over the last week as crude oil costs soared to the highest level in almost three months, the government's top energy forecasting agency said Tuesday.
The national price for regular unleaded gasoline averaged $2.24 a gallon, up 41 cents from a year ago, based on the federal Energy Information Administration's survey of service stations.
The price of crude oil accounts for about half the cost of making gasoline, and oil costs have surged amid a dispute between Russia and Ukraine over natural gas.
Russia cut off gas supplies to the Ukraine on New Year's Day after Ukraine refused to immediately pay a four-fold increase for the fuel.
Deliveries resumed the next day after Russia's European customers complained their gas deliveries that move by pipeline through Ukraine had also been affected.
But the dispute is still not resolved, and U.S. crude oil rose as high as $63.80 a barrel in trading Tuesday at the New York Mercantile Exchange, up $2.76 from last Friday's close and the highest level since Oct. 18. Crude eventually settled up 3.4 percent to $63.14 a barrel at the end of the day.
In the EIA's latest weekly survey, the Central Atlantic states had the most expensive regional gasoline, with the price up 4.4 cents to $2.31 a gallon. Miami was at the top of the agency's survey of cities, with gasoline down 0.2 cent to $2.37 a gallon.
The Rocky Mountain states again had the cheapest gasoline at $2.12 a gallon, up a penny. Among major cities, Denver had the cheapest fuel, up 2.5 cents to $2.13 a gallon.
The EIA report also showed prices, rounded to the nearest penny, up 1.7 cents at $2.32 in Chicago, up 5.1 cents at $2.30 in New York City, up 11 cents to $2.29 in Cleveland, up 4.8 cents at $2.23 in Boston, up 0.6 cent at $2.17 in San Francisco and down 2.3 cents at $2.11 in Seattle.
Separately, the average diesel fuel price paid by truckers declined for the second week in a row, falling about half a penny to $2.44 a gallon, up 49 cents compared with a year earlier, the EIA said.
Truckers in the New England region again paid the most for diesel at $2.65 a gallon, up 0.2 cent from last week. The Rocky Mountain states had the cheapest diesel at $2.39 a gallon, down 1.8 cents.