Tuesday, March 07, 2006

US gasoline, diesel fuel retail prices soar

US gasoline, diesel fuel retail prices soar: gov't
By Tom Doggett

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. drivers saw gasoline prices soar an average 7.7 cents a gallon over the last week, while truckers paid the most for diesel fuel since November, the government said on Monday.

The national price for regular unleaded gasoline jumped to $2.33 a gallon, up 33 cents from a year ago and the highest level in a month based on the federal Energy Information Administration's survey of service stations.

The price increases in many cities were much higher, skyrocketing more than 19 cents a gallon in just one week in Chicago and more than 16 cents in Cleveland.

The average diesel fuel price paid by truckers increased 7.4 cents to $2.55 a gallon, up 38 cents from a year earlier and the most expensive since November 14, the EIA said.

The rising pump prices arrived as the busy spring driving season gets under way. They reflect expensive crude oil based on traders concerns about potential disruptions in world crude oil supplies.

U.S. crude oil, which accounts for about half the cost of making gasoline, fell on Monday after OPEC members signaled they would not cut oil production levels when the cartel meets this meek.

Crude for delivery in April fell $1.26 to $62.41 at the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In the EIA's latest weekly survey, the West Coast had the most expensive gasoline, with the price up 3.9 cents at $2.42 a gallon. Los Angeles topped the survey of cities, with gasoline up 5.6 cents at $2.51 a gallon.

The Gulf Coast states had the cheapest gasoline at $2.25 a gallon, up 9.3 cents. Among major cities, Houston had the best deal at the pump, but it was still up 3.5 cents at $2.14 a gallon.

The EIA report also showed prices, rounded to the nearest penny, up 19.1 cents at $2.46 in Chicago; up 4.8 cents at $2.41 in Miami; up 16.2 cents at $2.38 in Cleveland; up 3 cents at $2.30 in New York City; up 5.7 cents at $2.28 in Seattle and up 3.8 cents at $2.21 in Boston.

Truckers on the West Coast paid the most for diesel at $2.71 a gallon, up 8.8 cents from last week. The Gulf Coast states had the cheapest diesel at $2.50 a gallon, up 5.6 cents.