August 8, 2005

Retail gasoline price hits record $2.37/gallon

By Tom Doggett

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The average U.S. retail gasoline
price rose 7.7 cents over the last week to a record high of
$2.37 a gallon, the government said on Monday, as motorists dig
deeper into their wallets for the final weeks of the summer
vacation season.

The national price for regular unleaded gasoline is up 49
cents from a year ago, surpassing the old record of $2.33 set
on July 11, according to a survey of service stations conducted
by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Rising pump costs reflect record prices for crude oil,
which climbed to a record $64 a barrel on Monday at the New
York Mercantile Exchange.

The price for crude oil accounts for about half the cost of
making gasoline.

When adjusted for inflation, the highest price for gasoline
would be around $3.12 a gallon in March 1981, the EIA said.

The new record gasoline and crude oil prices came on the
day President Bush signed into law legislation to update U.S.
energy policy and boost domestic energy supplies in the years

Bush conceded the law will not lower energy prices soon.

"We're not going to solve our energy challenges overnight,"
Bush said. "Most of the serious problems, such as high gasoline
costs and rising dependence on foreign oil, have developed over
decades. It's going to take years of focused effort to
alleviate those problems."

A separate survey from the AAA auto group showed U.S.
gasoline prices struck a new peak Monday at $2.34 a gallon.

California gas prices are the highest in the continental
United States at $2.64 a gallon, according to the AAA survey of
60,000 retail gas stations.

In the weekly EIA survey, the West Coast had the most
expensive regular unleaded gasoline, with the price up 5.6
cents at $2.57 a gallon. San Francisco topped the agency's
survey of cities, with the price of gasoline also up 5.6 cents
at $2.64.

The Gulf Coast states, where many refineries are located,
had the cheapest fuel, with the price up 10 cents at $2.28 per
gallon. Among major cities, Houston had the best deal at the
pump, with fuel up 10.3 cents at $2.26.

The EIA report also showed prices, rounded to the nearest
penny, up 6 cents at $2.54 in Seattle, up 10.5 cents at $2.46
in Chicago, up 5.8 cents at $2.42 in Miami, up 1.8 cents at
$2.42 in New York City, up 2.5 cents at $2.39 in Boston, and up
14.4 cents at $2.34 in Cleveland.

Separately, the average price for diesel fuel increased 5.9
cents $2.41 a gallon, up 59 cents from a year earlier and less
than half a penny from a new record high, the EIA said.

Truckers on the West Coast paid the most for diesel at
$2.80 a gallon, up 21 cents from last week. In California
alone, diesel jumped 29 cents in one week to $2.94 after a
major Chevron refinery in the state was shut down.

The Gulf Coast states had the cheapest diesel at $2.32 a
gallon, up 4.4 cents.