The latest Fuel Gauge Report from AAA shows increased prices nationwide since last week, with 46 states seeing higher average prices for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline. The national average price is $3.78 per gallon, which is the highest on record for this calendar day (Feb. 26), according to AAA. This price is 5 cents higher than a week ago, up 44 cents from the previous month (since Jan .26), and up 9 cents more than the average price at this time a year ago.
AAA said a mix of higher oil prices, an earlier switch to summer blend gasoline production, and rising global demand have contributed to the rapid increase in prices since the beginning of the year. Prices increased for a consecutive 36 days before falling most recently for three days in a row. Crude oil processing is at its lowest level since April 8, 2011, and gasoline output is also down. In terms of demand, demand for crude oil in China reached a record high of 10.62 million barrels in January, up 10% from Jan. 2012. Despite generally higher oil prices, crude oil prices did decline last week. By the end of last week (Feb. 22), West Texas Intermediate crude oil was at $93 per barrel.
On a regional basis, prices in three states currently exceed $4.00 per gallon, Hawaii, at $4.36; California, at $4.23; D.C., at $4.01; and New York, also at $4.01. Prices in four states are down from the previous week, in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Kentucky.
On-highway diesel prices for the U.S. were basically flat from the previous week. On Feb. 18, the price was $4.157 per gallon, and the price was only up 0.002 cents to $4.159 per gallon on Feb. 25, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.