WASHINGTON, April 20 (UPI) -- A week after the Energy Information Administration said U.S. gas prices would average nearly $4 a gallon this summer, prices spiked to nearly $5 in Washington.
Fuel prices have climbed steadily in recent months with several factors contributing to the increase. President Barack Obama on Tuesday cited market speculation as one of the reasons for the per-barrel cost for crude oil jumping to nearly $110.
The rise in crude is quickly reflected on the retail level. The EIA said last week that the 2011 driving season would see average prices of $3.86 for regular grade fuel in the United States and peak at $3.91 a gallon. A year ago, a gallon of cost $2.76.
Gas stations in Washington have posted prices of $4.999 a gallon, well above the region average of $3.828 cited Monday by IAE. Prices in the Washington suburbs are lower but still approaching the $4 a gallon range.
The West Coast region, spurred by California's $4.205 a gallon average, has the highest prices in the United States at $4.081, up $1.023 from a year ago, EIA said. The Rocky Mountain region -- at $3.609 -- showed the lowest prices but even those were 72.5 cents a gallon higher than in April 2010.