The price of gas remained at $3.12 overnight in the Philadelphia area and at $2.92 in South Jersey, but the national average has hit a high for the year, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.
The auto club said that this morning's national average of $3 reflected a 2-cent overnight increase.
The highest national average last year was $2.70 (reached Oct. 30). The highest average ever recorded for the country as a whole was $4.11, on July 17, 2008. (And local pump prices were in that range, too.)
Diesel averages were unchanged overnight in the five-county Philadelphia area ($3.50), in South Jersey ($3.15) and in the nation overall ($3.26).
Meanwhile, oil prices rose above $90 a barrel in Asia after a report showed that U.S. crude supplies dropped more than expected for a second week, which suggests that demand is improving.
Benchmark oil for February delivery was up 19 cents to $90.01 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 45 cents to settle at $89.82 on Tuesday.
The American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday that crude inventories fell 5.8 million barrels last week while analysts surveyed by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos., had forecast a drop of 2.4 million barrels. Inventories of gasoline decreased 2.9 million barrels and distillates rose slightly, the API said.
The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration will report its weekly supply data later today. The EIA said last week that supplies dropped 9.9 million barrels the previous week, the biggest drop in eight years.
Oil prices, which rose to a two-year high above $90 earlier this month, have been supported by rallying stock markets. Meanwhile, a strengthening U.S. dollar, which makes crude more expensive for investors with other currencies, has weighed on oil.
In other Nymex trading in January contracts, heating oil rose 0.4 cent to $2.52 a gallon, gasoline futures added 1.5 cents to $2.41 a gallon and natural gas advanced 0.9 cent to $4.07 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In London, Brent crude rose 30 cents to $93.50 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.