The good news is that gasoline actually cost 5 percent less here in April than the average for U.S. cities, the government said today.

The bad news is that Philadelphia area consumers paid 28 percent more than the national average for electricity, and 7.1 percent more for natural gas.

The numbers, measured in the Consumer Price Index by the U.S Department of Labor's bureau of labor statistics, have shown similar disparities for the month of April going back 10 years, labor department regional commissioner Sheila Watkins said in a statement.

The department reported an average price of $3.32 for a gallon of gasoline in the region in April, compared with $3.49 nationally.

A kilowatt hour of electricity here cost an average 15.1 cents in April, compared with a national average of 11.8 cents, the department said.

Meanwhile, the government said a therm - a measure of constant heating value - of natural gas cost consumers here an average of $1.53 in April, compared with $1.43 in the nation as a whole.

The labor department defines the Philadelphia region as including Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties in Pennsylvania; Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem Counties in New Jersey; New Castle County, Delaware; and Cecil County, Maryland.