Average pump prices in California are back above $3.80 a gallon, and the U.S. average is approaching $3.50, the Energy Department said Monday. Analysts said retail fuel was still catching up with a three-week rise in the price of oil.
The average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline in California was $3.808, according to the Energy Department's weekly survey. It was the second straight week of increases after eight weeks of falling prices. The new average is up 5.5 cents from a week earlier but down 1 cent from a year earlier.
Nationally, the average was $3.494, up 6.7 cents from a week earlier and down 20.5 cents from a year earlier. The U.S. average has risen two weeks in a row after falling for 13 weeks.
Oil, which had dropped below $78 a barrel in June, had climbed $15 by Friday to more than $90 a barrel, said Ben Brockwell of the Oil Price Information Service. "Retail prices are rising because of that jump," Brockwell said.
U.S. benchmark crude oil gave up some of that ground Monday, falling $3.69 to $88.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as fears that the European Union would fail to resolve its debt crises outweighed Middle East concerns about a possible Israeli retaliation over a terrorist attack on tourists in Bulgaria. In London, European benchmark oil fell $3.57 to $103.26.