Fuel Continues Upward Spiral

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Fuel Continues Upward Spiral

WASHINGTON -- U.S. retail gasoline prices increased slightly over the last week, rising 0.4 cents to $1.45 a gallon, the Energy Department said.

Gasoline costs are up 24 cents a gallon from a year ago, based on a weekly survey of more than 800 service stations by the department's Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The national price for cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline, which is sold at about one-third of the gas stations in cities and smoggier areas, was up 0.9 cents to $1.49 a gallon, EIA said. The West Coast had the most expensive regular unleaded gasoline, with the average weekly price in the region up 2.9 cents to $1.50 a gallon.

The lower Atlantic states had the cheapest fuel, as the average price was down 0.8 cents to $1.39 a gallon.

Among cities, San Francisco maintained its top spot among major cities in fuel costs, with the price up 5.9 cents to $1.65 a gallon. Houston again had the best deal at the pump, with gasoline down 1.1 cents to $1.37 a gallon. The report also showed gasoline prices down 1.5 cents in Chicago at $1.55, up 5.3 cents in Los Angeles at $1.52, up half a penny in New York City at $1.50 and down 0.9 cents in Denver at $1.47.

The biggest one-year change in city pump prices was in Chicago, where gasoline costs were up 34 cents a gallon from a year earlier.

Separately, the nationwide price for diesel fuel fell for the third week in a row, down 1.4 cents to $1.44 a gallon. But this was still 15 cents higher from a year ago. Truckers on the West Coast paid the most for diesel fuel at $1.52 a gallon, down 0.3 cents from the prior week.

Both the lower Atlantic states and the Gulf Coast states had the cheapest diesel at $1.39 a gallon, down 1.3 cents and 2.3 cents a gallon, respectively.