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    Gas Prices Jump a Nickel

    Meanwhile, a consumer group urges Congress to curb gas prices.

    WASHINGTON -- The average retail price for regular gasoline in the U.S. jumped $0.056 cents to $3.11 a gallon over the past week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said earlier this week, sparked by record high oil costs that topped $100 a barrel last week, Reuters reported.

    The national average price rose to its highest level in two months, and was $0.80 cents above a year ago, the report stated, citing the EIA survey.

    The uptick in price is the result of expensive crude oil, which reached $100.09 a barrel last Thursday, and have since retreated settling at just over $95 a barrel on Monday at the New York Mercantile Exchange, Reuters reported.

    "We confront economic challenges, from the downturn of the housing sector, to high energy prices, to painful adjustments in some of the financial markets," Reuters cited President Bush at saying in Chicago on Monday.

    Gas was most expensive on the West Coast, where it rose 2.9 cents to $3.25 a gallon, according to the latest report by the EIA. San Francisco had the highest gasoline cost among major cities, at $3.43, up 3.6 cents, Reuters reported.

    The Rocky Mountain region had the lowest price at $2.95 a gallon, up 2.9 cents, while Denver had the cheapest pump price at $2.84 a gallon, up 5.5 cents, according to the report.

    Meanwhile, consumer group the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) issued a statement calling Congress to act against the high energy prices.

    "Today's rising energy prices as the U.S. slides into recession are not a slow-moving disaster, they're a dive out the high-rise window," Judy Dugan, research director of FTCR, said in a statement. "Congress can't sit idle until the splatter hits the sidewalk."

    The organization asked Congress to call immediate hearings on energy price manipulation to question energy traders from hedge funds and oil companies. It added oil companies that reaped benefits of crude oil at $90 per barrel prices are pushing to match that when making gas.

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