The average pump price in California jumped more than a nickel as rising demand pushed retail gasoline prices higher around the nation during the last week, the Energy Department said Monday.
The average price for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in California rose to $2.532, up 5.2 cents, while the U.S. average increased to $2.366, up 3.5 cents. The California price was up 24.5 cents from a year earlier, and the U.S. price was up 31 cents from a year earlier, according to the department's weekly survey of about 800 filling stations.
Rising oil prices and strengthening gasoline demand are behind the pump-price increase, analysts have said. The U.S. average began rising three weeks ago, jumping nearly 13 cents; California's prices have been up for the last two weeks, rising 9.3 cents.
High gasoline prices and record oil company profits have sparked public outrage and will be the focus of a congressional hearing today as executives from six major oil companies testify on Capitol Hill.
The Senate Judiciary Committee wants to know whether oil company mergers have pushed petroleum prices higher and what the companies plan to do to ease consumers' energy costs.
Gasoline prices rose in all areas of the country last week, according to the weekly report from the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration. Gasoline prices increased the most in lower Atlantic states, gaining an average of 6.3 cents to $2.341 a gallon.
Prices rose 5.5 cents to $2.477 a gallon in West Coast states and 4.6 cents to $2.333 along the East Coast. Gulf Coast gasoline rose 4.7 cents to an average of $2.292 a gallon. Midwest prices rose 0.6 cent to $2.385 a gallon.
Diesel prices in California rose 0.8 cent to $2.747 a gallon and nationwide fell 0.2 cent to $2.543 a gallon, the survey said.
Bloomberg News and Reuters were used in compiling this report.