WASHINGTON – Drivers looking for relief from higher gasoline prices may not be cheered by the latest round of data on U.S. gasoline prices, which rose to the second highest pump price ever, the government said Monday.
According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. average retail gasoline price increased 1.4 cents over the past week to $3 a gallon.
The national price for regular unleaded gasoline was up 71 cents from a year ago and close to the record $3.07 hit last September, when Hurricane Katrina disrupted fuel supplies, according to the federal agency's weekly survey of 800 service stations.
Pump prices may keep climbing as the price for U.S. crude oil, which accounts for about half the cost of making gasoline, settled 62 cents higher at $75.05 a barrel on Monday at the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress last week that he was worried about the effect of high oil prices on the U.S. economy.
Expensive gasoline is cutting into many family budgets, reducing the extra money they have to spend on other goods and services.
Sixty percent of Americans said gasoline prices are causing them financial harm, but only 15 percent plan to reduce their driving, according to a new ABC News poll.
The much larger Lundberg survey of 7,000 service stations said gasoline increased almost 2 cents over the last two weeks to $3.02 a gallon, when rounded to the nearest penny. That survey had prices at their highest level ever.
In the EIA's new weekly survey, the West Coast still had the most expensive gasoline by region, even with the price down 1.2 cents to $3.14 a gallon. Los Angeles had the highest pump price among cities at $3.27 a gallon, down 2.2 cents.
The Gulf Coast states had the cheapest gasoline at $2.89 a gallon, up 3.1 cents. Houston had the best city pump price at $2.90, up 0.8 cent.
The Energy Department's analytical arm also reported the price truckers paid for diesel fuel increased 2 cents in the week to $2.95 a gallon, up 60 cents from a year ago, but still far from the record $3.16 set last October.
Reuters contributed to this report.