The average cost of gas rose by 2 cents a gallon overnight in the Philadelphia area and in South Jersey, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

The five-county Philly area is seeing an average $2.65 a gallon. The lowest average for 2009 was $1.68 on Jan. 1 - when crude oil was $45 a barrel, the auto club said.

Oil prices were about $71 a barrel today.

South Jersey is averaging $2.46 for regular no-lead. Its lowest average for the year also was on Jan. 1, at $1.44 a gallon.

The national average today was up 1 cent, to $2.64; the lowest U.S. average also was on Jan. 1: $1.62 a gallon.

In the diesel lanes, the Philly-area average was up 3 cents a gallon, to $2.75. South Jersey's average was up 1 cent, to $2.43.

The national diesel average was 1 cent higher today, to $2.55.

Meanwhile, oil prices slipped to near $71 a barrel as the crude market took a breather from its recent daily gains. But the mood remained bullish as investors eyed signs that the global recession may be easing.

Benchmark crude for July delivery fell $1.60 to $71.08 a barrel by afternoon European time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, it rose $1.35 to settle at $72.68, the highest since October.

Reflecting expectations of continued global economic weakness, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries forecast that demand for its crude this year would average 28.6 million barrels a day - 2.2 million barrels less than in 2008.

Still, there are some signs of a turnaround.

On Thursday, the International Energy Agency said in its monthly survey that global oil demand would fall by 2.9 percent this year, slightly better than its May forecast of a 3 percent fall.

It was the organization's first upward revision to its forecasts in 10 months.