WASHINGTON, D.C. – Retail gasoline prices climbed to a record national average of $2.153 a gallon in the latest week, and will rise more as the peak driving season nears and higher crude oil prices are passed on to motorists, the U.S. government said on March 28, according to Reuters. The national average pump price for regular unleaded gasoline rose 4.4 cents, according to a weekly survey of more than 800 service stations by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The new price is 39.5 cents per gallon higher than one year ago. When adjusted for inflation, the most expensive price at the pump was $3.08 a gallon in March 1981. Retail prices will continue rising in May, just ahead of the start of the summer driving season, the EIA said. A spokesman said the agency will release its revised forecast for pump prices late next week. “We're expecting a pretty tight gasoline market this summer,” said Dave Costello, an oil analyst with EIA. “There doesn't seem to be a lot of reason to expect” a near-term drop, he said, adding that prices are likely to rise through May. So far, prices have not caused motorists to reduce their driving, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). Gasoline prices could average about $2.35 a gallon by the Memorial Day weekend in late May, the traditional beginning of the summer driving season, he said. The government's weekly retail gasoline report showed the average U.S. pump price was highest on the West Coast, where prices rose 6.0 cents to an average of $2.318 per gallon. The Gulf Coast region had the cheapest gasoline, rising 5.7 cents to $2.079 a gallon during the last week, EIA said. Among the 10 major urban areas highlighted by EIA, Houston pump prices were the cheapest at $2.038 per gallon, up 6.6 cents. The most expensive city was Los Angeles where prices jumped 4.4 cents to $2.397. The national price for cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline, sold at about one-third of the stations in cities and smoggier areas, rose 4.8 cents to $2.186 a gallon.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials