The first answer is both easy and disturbing for drivers – prices are up, and alarmingly so this week, with the average price for a gallon of gas rising to $3.64 from $3.51, the biggest ramp-up in prices.
Consumers may well wonder why the Rocky Mountain states have gotten off relatively easy, as gas prices actually declined from $3.47 to #.46 for the week, the only U.S. region to do so.
Compare that with the East Coast, where fuel prices rose 10 cents per gallon – small cheese compared with the Midwest, which saw prices rise by 26 cents per gallon.
The good news, if there is any, is that prices at the pump are 29 cents lower than a year ago, but that number is shrinking every week as consumers give back more of those gains to fill their tanks.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration has the full slate of numbers:
<P/>On the East Coast the gas price rose to $3.60 from $3.50.
<P/>In the Midwest, the gas price rose to $3.77 from $3.51.
<P/>Along the Gulf Coast, gas prices went to $3.41 from $3.31.
<P/>In the Rocky Mountain region, the nation's lone decliner, prices went to $3.46 from $3.47.
<P/>The West Coast gas price saw a smaller rise than most, to $3.76 from $3.71.
So what’s the deal with amped-up fuel costs?
Normally, there is no shortage of analysts who could point to Iran’s saber rattling in the Strait of Hormuz or the Eurozone’s debt headaches, and blame rising gas prices on those standbys with confidence.