By Rick Popely on February 21, 2014
Higher gas prices became more widespread over the past week, forcing motorists in most parts of the country to dig deeper to fill their tanks.
The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded was $3.38, the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge reported; that's 5 cents higher than a week ago and 10 cents higher than a month ago. The national average for a gallon of diesel fuel was $3.97—2 cents more than a week ago and 11 cents higher than a month ago.
The average price for regular unleaded in Indiana has shot up 17 cents since Feb. 6 to $3.44, and in Missouri, it jumped 16 cents in the past two weeks to $3.19. In California, regular unleaded has gone up 15 cents during the same period to $3.74. So far, though, this year's prices haven't increased as much as they did last year.
The average price for regular unleaded a year ago was $3.77, 39 cents higher than today. Diesel was $4.14 at this time last year, which was 17 cents higher. AAA said prices typically rise this time of year as refineries shut down for routine maintenance, temporarily restricting the supply of gas and diesel. At the same time, crude oil prices have settled in at more than $100 a barrel for the first time since Oct. 10, 2013, a change that could put upward pressure on pump prices down the road. In the past week alone, regular unleaded prices went up 7 cents in Indiana, California and Idaho. Prices were 8 cents higher in Idaho and Oklahoma and 9 cents higher in Missouri and New Mexico.
Montana had the lowest statewide average at $3.11, which is 5 cents higher than a week ago, followed by South Carolina, $3.13, and Mississippi, $3.17. Though average regular unleaded prices rose in most states, they were unchanged in Mississippi from a week ago.
Hawaii had the highest-price gas at $4.05, followed by California, $3.74; Alaska, $3.73; and Connecticut, $3.70. Prices averaged $3.50 or more in 11 states and the District of Columbia.
Cars.com photo by Matt Avery
Contributor Rick Popely has covered the auto industry for decades and hosts a weekly online radio show on TalkZone.com . Email Rick