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U.S. gasoline hits 2nd highest price for 2009

Posted on: March 24, 2009

By Tom Doggett – Mon Mar 23, 5:35 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. retail gasoline prices jumped to their second highest level so far this year, the Department of Energy said on Monday, as higher crude oil costs were passed on to consumers at the pump.

The national price for regular unleaded gasoline increased 5.2 cents over the last week to $1.96 a gallon, which is still down $1.30 from a year ago, the department’s Energy Information Administration said in its weekly survey of service stations.

This week’s pump price was just 0.3 cent a gallon short of beating this year’s highest fuel price reached on February 16.

Gasoline prices are rising because of higher crude oil costs, which account for about the half the cost of making motor fuel

The price for U.S. oil traded just over $54 a barrel on Monday at the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest level since last December 1.

The agency’s weekly survey showed gasoline was most expensive on the West Coast at $2.13 a gallon, down 0.3 cent from last week. Los Angeles had the highest city price at $2.15, down 2.7 cents.

The Rocky Mountain states had the lowest regional price at $1.86 a gallon, up 4.5 cents. Houston had the cheapest city pump price at $1.85, up 10 cents.

The EIA also reported gasoline prices were up 1.9 cents at $2.14 in Seattle; down 1.2 cents at $2.13 in San Francisco; up 4.2 cents at $2.09 in Miami; up 11.7 cents at $2.06 in Chicago; up 13 cents at $1.97 in Cleveland; up 2.3 cents at $1.93 in New York City and up 1.8 cents at $1.88 in Boston.

Separately, the average price for diesel fuel soared 7.3 cents to $2.09 a gallon, but was still down $1.90 from a year ago, the EIA said.

The New England states again had the most expensive diesel at $2.40 a gallon, unchanged from last week. The Midwest had the cheapest diesel fuel at $2.04, up 7.3 cents.

(Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by David Gregorio)


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