Still Rising

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Still Rising

WASHINGTON -- U.S. retail gasoline prices jumped to their highest level in a year, reflecting a rise in crude oil costs, the Energy Department said.

The pump price increased 2.6 cents a gallon over the last week to an average price of $1.44, based on a weekly survey of more than 800 service stations by the department's Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The price of gasoline is up 9 cents from a year ago and the highest level since late September 2001, EIA said. 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 1.4 cents at $1.48 a gallon.

Gasoline prices are up because of rising crude oil costs that have hovered around $30 a barrel due to market fears of a U.S. attack on Iraq and tighter crude supplies.

The West Coast had the most expensive regular unleaded gasoline, with the average weekly price in the region down 1.2 cents to $1.49 a gallon. The Gulf Coast states had the cheapest fuel, as the average price was up 2.3 cents to $1.37 a gallon.

San Francisco kept its top spot among major cities in fuel costs, although the price was down half a penny to $1.61 a gallon. Houston had the best deal at the pump, but gasoline was up 2.2 cents to $1.349 a gallon.

The report also showed gasoline prices up 7.4 cents in Chicago at $1.58, down 2 cents in Los Angeles at $1.50, up 0.4 cent in New York City at $1.49 and up 9.2 cents in Denver at $1.49.

The biggest year-on-year change in city pump prices was in San Francisco, where gasoline costs were down 15 cents a gallon.

Separately, the nationwide price for diesel fuel increased for the eight straight week, up 2.2 cents to $1.46 a gallon, and 9 cents higher from a year ago.

Truckers on the West Coast paid the most for diesel fuel at $1.53 a gallon, down 0.2 cents from the prior week. The lower Atlantic states had the cheapest diesel at $1.42 a gallon, up 3.6 cents.