By Sandy Shore, AP Business Writer
Motorists planning a late-summer getaway should find gasoline prices little-changed through August.
An oil price rally caused the week-over-week increase, but prices aren't likely to rise much more because supplies are still ample and demand hasn't improved much this summer, analysts say.
The national average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline was $2.774 Monday, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That's about 3.9 cents higher than a week ago and 13.1 cents higher than a year ago.
In its weekly report on pump prices, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said Monday that the national average for a gallon of unleaded regular was $2.783, up 4.8 cents from a week ago. California drivers paid the most at $3.172 a gallon. Motorists in Rocky Mountain states were next at $2.790, followed by Midwest and East Coast drivers. The average pump price was lowest in Gulf Coast states, at $2.641 a gallon.
Gasoline prices typically are affected by the price of crude oil, the strength of the dollar, how far a state is from refining hubs and the amount of state tax added to the federal tax of 18.4 cents a gallon.
California has some of the highest prices in the country, due to a combination of higher taxes and stricter rules about the types of gas blends sold.
The Rockies see higher prices because of a limited number of refineries and the distance to supplies. Texas and the Gulf Coast region have readily accessible oil supplies and typically lower tax rates, according to the American Petroleum Institute.
The dollar can impact prices because oil, like most commodities, is priced in dollars. A weaker dollar can make oil more attractive to foreign buyers.
In a research report, Cameron Hanover energy research agency said oil supplies are about 20.6 percent higher than they were two years ago, while gasoline reserves are about 6.6 percent higher.