The average for a gallon of regular no-lead was up by 1 cent in the last few days to $2.70 in the five-county Philadelphia area, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

A year ago, the Philly area was averaging $1.71.

South Jersey's average was at $2.47, up about 1 cent from late last week. A year ago, the average there was $1.48.

The U.S. average is $2.60, unchanged overnight; a year ago, it was $1.63.

Today, Alaska was averaging $3.35, Hawaii stood at $3.31; the highest average on the mainland was in California, at $2.93.

The Philadelphia area's diesel average was about steady, at $3. South Jersey was averaging $2.68, up 1 cent.

The U.S. average for diesel also was unchanged overnight, at $2.79.

Meanwhile, oil prices rose above $79 barrel for the first time in seven weeks as an extended cold snap triggered an end-of-year rally in energy futures.

Benchmark crude for February delivery added 63 cents to $78.68 a barrel in light, holiday trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices rose as high as $79.12 earlier in the day, the highest since Nov. 5.

Futures contracts for oil, natural gas and heating oil have all become more expensive this month as snow storms blanketed parts of the country and a sharp drop in supplies of crude and other fuels surprised traders.

Still, the winter chill hasn't boosted energy demand above last year's levels. The United States is consuming less petroleum than it did at the same time last year, when oil and gas prices were cheaper and the economy was in recession.

In other Nymex trading in January contracts, heating oil climbed 3.4 cents to $2.0696 a gallon while gasoline added 2.97 cents to $2.0193 a gallon. Natural gas increased by 29.8 cents to $5.941 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, Brent crude for February delivery rose 69 cents to $77.00 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.