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WASHINGTON -- U.S. retail gasoline prices jumped 1.2 cents over the last week to $1.39 a gallon, the largest increase since early April, spurred on by strong gasoline demand and a drop in motor fuel inventories, according to the Energy Department.
The latest pump price is still down 2 cents from a year ago, based on a weekly survey of more than 800 convenience stores by the department's Energy Information Administration (EIA).
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 half a penny to $1.461 a gallon, EIA said. The West Coast had the most expensive regular unleaded gasoline, with the average price in the region down 0.7 cents to $1.55 a gallon.
The lower Atlantic states had the cheapest fuel, with the average price up 0.2 cents to $1.29 a gallon. San Francisco kept its top spot among major cities in fuel costs, even with the price down 0.2 cents to $1.68 a gallon.
The best deal at the pump was again found in Houston, where gasoline was up 0.8 cents to $1.30 a gallon.
The report also showed gasoline prices down 0.7 cents in Los Angeles to $1.57, up 2.6 cents in Chicago to $1.49, up 0.1 cents in New York City to $1.43 and down 0.4 cents in Denver to $1.38.
The biggest year-on-year change in city pump prices was in New York City, where gasoline costs have dropped 23 cents a gallon. The EIA said it expects the average pump price to peak at around $1.43 later this summer, much lower than last year's record weekly price of $1.70.
However, the agency warned that prices could spike in certain parts of the country if there are any regional pipeline or refinery problems.
Separately, the nationwide price for diesel fuel increased for the fourth week in a row, rising 0.6 cents to $1.30 a gallon, down 8 cents from a year ago. Truckers on the West Coast paid the most for diesel fuel at $1.38 a gallon, down 0.6 cents from the prior week. The lower Atlantic states had the cheapest diesel, up 0.3 cents to $1.26 a gallon.