WASHINGTON – The U.S. Energy Information Administration posted its weekly update on retail gasoline and diesel prices, nothing the average retail price of gasoline has increased for the fifth consecutive week to $3.71 per gallon. This average price is $0.98 higher than the retail price last year at this same time.

The July EIA short-term energy outlook forecast that the annual average regular-grade gasoline retail price will be $3.56 in 2011 and $3.65 per gallon in 2012, which are slight reductions from the EIA’s energy outlook in June.

Still, crude oil prices are much higher this year than they were last year and don’t . For example, in terms of spot prices for crude oil, for the sake of comparison, the 2010 price of WTI – Cushing crude oil was $76.32 in July of 2010. Brent crude was $75.58. In 2011, the price of WTI – Cushing crude was $95.68 at the end of July, and Brent was at $115.93.

On a regional basis, the Midwest saw the largest price increase at 2 cents, the Rocky Mountains saw an increase of 2 cents but had the lowest overall price at $3.55 per gallon. The average price on the U.S. East Coast was up one cent. The Gulf Cost was nearly flat. On the West Coast, the price fell to $3.75 per gallon, at the highest average price in the country.

For diesel prices, the average national diesel price dropped for the first time in a month of $3.94 per gallon. The diesel price is $1.01 per gallon higher than at this same time last year. The West Coast saw the biggest drop ( four cents). The East Coast Average price dropped more than one cent, and the Midwest and Gulf Coast saw nearly a one cent drop. The Rocky Mountain price stated nearly flat.