March 26 (UPI) -- Gasoline prices in the United States rose in the week ended Monday to a national average of $2.62 per gallon, with some drivers paying the most, in five years for this time of the year.
National averages rose a quarter from the previous month, and 2 cents from last year, the AAA motor club said in its weekly report.
"On the week, every state except Florida (no change) saw gas prices increase, some as much as 16 cents, with the Great Lakes and Central region seeing the most states with double-digit jumps on the week," the report said. The biggest increases were in Missouri, where fuel averages gained 15 cents.
GasBuddy, which tracks prices separately, also estimated prices rose to $2.62 per gallon. Prices have risen for the sixth straight week and seven states saw a "double-digit lift."
The AAA said that in the Great Lakes and Central States region -- including Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Kansas -- saw weekly increases bigger than a dime. Illinois, at $2.74 per gallon, had the highest price.
The Great Lakes and Central States region saw the second-largest decrease in gasoline stocks this week with a draw of 1 million barrels.
In the Rockies, Utah, with $2.34 per gallon, has the cheapest fuel prices in the country. The region has seen significantly cheaper gas prices likely due to strong inventory levels and lower demand, AAA said. Year over year, gas prices are as much as a quarter cheaper in the region.
In the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states, prices were relatively stable in the week with variations that ranged from a 9 cent-per-gallon increase in Tennessee to a 1 cent-per-gallon gain in West Virginia.
In the South, all states except Florida saw price increases, led by New Mexico with a 12 cents-per-gallon rise. Even after the increase, prices in the region remain among the lowest in the country.
"The consistent decrease since February, which is partly attributed to exports, has caused gas prices to increase throughout the region," the AAA said.
As usual, the West Coast's pump prices remained among the highest in the nation, in part due to stricter emission controls.
California and Hawaii are the most expensive markets, with prices at $3.49 per barrel and $3.40 per barrel, respectively. Drivers in California and Arizona saw a 14 percent increase.
Fuel sold in service stations across most of the United States is a combination of blendstock, like Reformulate Gasoline Blendstock for Oxygenate Blending, later mixed with oxygenate, which adds oxygen to the emission to make it cleaner.
These blendstock products are all naphtha obtained from crude oil. The naphtha is in most cases later mixed with about 10 percent ethanol.
RBOB futures for April delivery were quoted Tuesday morning at $1.89 per gallon, about the same as a week earlier.
Ethanol, alcohol that, in the United States, is mostly derived from corn and added to the gasoline mix as an oxygenate, was quoted Tuesday at $1.42 per gallon for April delivery, up from $1.43 a week ago.
This is the season in which refiners change to a warmer weather, and more expensive, fuel mix. Seasonal prices in the United States begin to increase in February and continue until the end of May.