Crude oil prices have escalated on encouraging economic news, cold winter weather and recent draws in U.S. stockpiles. Drivers have also increased time spent on the road this year, giving momentum to oil, which is a bellwether for consumer prices.
AAA said a gallon of unleaded gasoline across the country cost on average $3.013 Thursday, up from $2.997 the previous day. Gasoline prices averaged $2.584 per gallon a year ago and have not reached $3 since October 2008.
For some parts of the country, $3 gasoline would be a blessing. Prices range from $3.10 to $3.60 in parts of New York, parts of New England, California, Washington and Illinois, AAA said.
By contrast, average gasoline prices are $2.75 to $2.85 per gallon in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday, light, sweet crude oil added $1.05 cents to $91.54 per barrel. Heating oil prices added 1.48 cents to $2.555 per gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline prices rose 1.81 cents to $2.425 per gallon.
Henry Hub natural gas prices shed 8.3 cents to $4.069 per million British thermal units.