Prices at the pump keep surging

Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Fuel prices are continuing to surge as the summer driving season approaches.

Houston-area gasoline prices rose about 5 cents in the past week, while the national average jumped by 6 cents. The average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.21 on Monday in the Houston area and about $2.39 nationwide, according to GasBuddy, which tracks fuel pricing and refining activity.

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Gasoline prices typically begin seasonally increasing in March as refineries switch to more expensive summer-grade fuels. But crude oil prices dipped in March, delaying the boost in fuel prices. That changed at the beginning of April as crude prices again rose.

“The jump at the pump has continued,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “While the continued increases are completely seasonal in nature, it’s not any easier for motorists to digest.”

Houston fuel prices currently are about 36 cents a gallon higher than the same time last year. But pump prices are about equal to 2015 and are well lower than during previous years, when a gallon of gas cost well over $3.