Gasoline prices rise by a nickel, average $2.30 nationwide

Monday, December 4th 2006, 5:05 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) The price of gasoline climbed by a nickel last week to an average of $2.30 nationwide.

The federal Energy Information Administration said Monday that U.S. motorists paid $2.297 a gallon on average for regular grade last week, an increase of 5.1 cents from the previous week.

Pump prices are now 15 cents higher than a year ago and roughly 75 cents a gallon lower since the start of August.

Gasoline prices were most expensive last week on the West Coast, averaging $2.485 per gallon, and cheapest in the Gulf Coast region, averaging $2.182 per gallon, according to the EIA.

The price of oil is down roughly $16 since a summertime peak above $78 a barrel, settling Monday at $62.44.

Average retail gasoline prices peaked at $3.07 a gallon in September 2005, reflecting the extreme tightness in the market following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which knocked out refineries in the Gulf region as well as pipelines that deliver fuel to the East Coast and Midwest.

They remained high all year, and surpassed $3 again this summer, amid soaring crude-oil prices, tight refining capacity and fears
that there would be another extreme hurricane season this summer.

But as the outlook for economic growth began to look shaky, supplies grew and hurricane fears never materialized, a massive sell-off in gasoline futures began, sending oil futures lower as well.