Gasoline prices at the pump rose slightly last week, the Energy Department said Monday, as oil futures fell to their lowest levels in March.
The average price of a gallon of regular in California rose 1.5 cents to $3.061, according to the agency's weekly telephone survey of filling stations.
Nationally, prices rose 3.7 cents to an average of $2.788 a gallon.
In some potentially good news for motorists, analyst Tom Kloza said that prices nationally were already within 25 cents of their likely peak for the year, with the summer driving season yet to come.
In California, Kloza said, pump prices probably would rise only an additional 10 to 15 cents in 2010.
Kloza said there is an abundant supply of gasoline at a time when demand among consumers remains weak. The nation's oil refiners have tried to reduce production to increase prices, but have not done so quickly enough to make a real difference.
"It would take a major geopolitical event or a serious natural disaster that would disrupt production for an extended period of time to make retail prices go much beyond where they will be in the coming weeks," Kloza said.
Light sweet crude for April delivery fell $1.44, or 1.8%, to close at $79.80 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.