Gas prices jump 3 cents in 3 days

AAA reports that the average price for a gallon of gas rose through the weekend to $1.842 a gallon Monday.

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By Catherine Clifford, CNNMoney.com staff writer

What should President Obama's first priority be?
  • Finalize a foreclosure plan
  • Work with Congress on economic stimulus
  • Fix the bank bailout program
  • Detail how he will cut the federal budget

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Gasoline prices rose for the sixth consecutive day Monday, according to a daily survey of credit card swipes.

The price of gas hit a national average of $1.842 a gallon Monday, up 0.3 cent from Sunday, according to motorist group AAA. Monday's average is nearly 3 cents higher than Friday, when prices topped $1.816 a gallon.

Current prices are now more than 10% higher than one month ago, when the national average was $1.671 a gallon.

But prices are still 39% lower than the same time a year ago, when a gallon of gas cost $3.015, and are 55% off the July 17 record high price of $4.114.

Gasoline is a product of crude oil. Therefore, it tends to rise and fall on the back of oil prices, which have slid more than $100 from their summer highs as the weakening global economy has chipped away at demand.

The drop off in crude prices helped push gas prices lower toward the end of 2008. Gasoline prices started trending higher in the new year but demand remains sluggish and $4-a-gallon gas is still a ways off.

Monday, gas prices were above $2 a gallon in 4 states: Alaska, Hawaii, California, and Washington. The cheapest gas was available in Wyoming, where a gallon cost $1.472.

Meanwhile, diesel fuel, which is used in most trucks and commercial vehicles, fell to $2.419 Monday from $2.427 a gallon. Diesel is used in shipping and transportation, and therefore the price of diesel affects the costs of other goods.

And the price of E85, an 85% ethanol blend made primarily from corn, ticked up very slightly to $1.612 a gallon from $1.610 a gallon. E85 is not available in some states, but it can be used instead of regular gas in some "flex-fuel" cars.

The AAA figures are statewide averages based on credit card swipes at up to 100,000 service stations across the nation. To top of page

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