WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Retail gasoline prices Thursday in the United States increased slightly as the U.S. Energy Department said it saw higher consumer demand.
AAA reports the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline Thursday at $3.63, up slightly from the previous day and a 4.6 percent increase from one month ago.
The Energy Information Administration, the analytical division of the Energy Department, said gasoline consumption was increasing at a faster rate for the season when compared to previous years.
"From early May to the week ending July 5, U.S. product supplied [demand] for gasoline increased 10 percent to 9.3 million barrels per day," it said Wednesday.
AAA said in a weekly market commentary Monday it expected gasoline prices to increase through the end of the summer. It said the increase was expected because of higher demand, expensive crude oil prices and potential refinery problems during the hurricane season.
EIA said the pace of the demand increase didn't indicate substantial changes in consumer habits.
"Even with the recent rise, 2013 year-to-date gasoline consumption is almost unchanged from last year and the estimated rise in gasoline demand is based on weekly product-supplied data that could change as more data, particularly on U.S. exports, become available," it said.