WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. average retail price for regular gasoline increased last week by 5.7 cents from the previous week to reach 205.6 cents per gallon on March 14. This is 33.2 cents higher than this time last year, and the second highest price ever recorded (not adjusted for inflation), according to the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Prices were up across all regions, with the Gulf Coast seeing the largest gain of 6.8 cents to reach 196.8 cents per gallon. The West Coast posted the highest regional price of 222.8 cents per gallon, up 5.4 cents from the previous week and 21.3 cents higher than last year. Prices in California gained 5.8 cents to 228.7 cents per gallon. Retail prices on the East Coast gained 6.4 cents to 201.6 cents per gallon, which is 31.3 cents higher than last year.
EIA projected that motor gasoline prices will average as much as $2.15 per gallon on a monthly basis this spring, with a weekly peak price even higher at some point. The price hike is largely due to the increase in crude oil prices, along with growth in demand. For the year as a whole, EIA forecasted an average price of $2.03 per gallon for regular gasoline, an increase of 18 cents per gallon compared to the annual average price for 2004.