US gasoline price highest in 3 months -Energy Dept

WASHINGTON, Feb 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. retail gasoline price climbed another 3.8 cents in the latest week to a three-month high, nearing $2 a gallon despite declining crude oil prices, the Energy Department said on Tuesday.

The national price for regular unleaded gasoline rose to $1.96 a gallon, still down $1.08 from a year ago, the department’s Energy Information Administration said in its weekly survey of service stations.

It was the highest pump price since Nov. 17, when a gallon of gasoline last surpassed $2.

Higher pump prices reflect oil refineries operating at lower capacity rates, which reduces gasoline production, according to the EIA. Less gasoline supplies raises wholesale fuel prices, which eventually are passed on to consumers at the pump.

The price of crude oil, which accounts for more than half the cost of making gasoline, fell $2.58 a barrel on Tuesday to below $35 in futures trading at the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In the EIA’s weekly survey, gasoline was most expensive on the West Coast at $2.24 a gallon, up 6.9 cents from last week. San Francisco had the highest city price at $2.28, up 8.1 cents.

The Rocky Mountain states had the lowest regional price at $1.82 a gallon, up 3.9 cents. Houston had the cheapest city pump price at $1.77, down 0.3 cent.

The EIA also reported gasoline prices were up 7.4 cents at $2.27 in Los Angeles, up 5.8 cents at $2.21 in Seattle, up 3.1 cents at $2.11 in Miami, up 7.9 cents at $2 in Chicago, up 16.1 cents at $1.95 in Cleveland, up 3.5 cents at $1.95 in New York City, up 2.8 cents at $1.88 in Boston and up 2.2 cents at $1.85 in Denver.

Separately, the average price for diesel fuel fell 3.3 cents to $2.19 a gallon, down $1.21 from a year ago, the EIA said.

The New England states again had the most expensive diesel at $2.56 a gallon, down 1.7 cents. The Gulf Coast region had the cheapest diesel fuel at $2.13, down 2.3 cents. (Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by David Gregorio)