Gasoline prices have continued to rise across the United States in the last week, as evidenced by a small increase in the national average, which stood at $3.53/gal, 2 cents higher than it did a week ago.

Prices continued to move higher as gasoline supply declined and ethanol prices continued to weigh on gasoline prices. Ethanol prices stood well higher than wholesale gasoline prices, making the required blending of ethanol even more expensive. Typically blending in ethanol reduces the price of gasoline, but as we covered last week, rising ethanol prices have led to higher gas prices.

This week will likely feature another slow but steady increase in the national average. Over the weekend, gasoline prices spiked in the Great Lakes, but will quickly begin to recede, like they tend to do after a large spike. High ethanol prices are a leading culprit for price hikes lately.

Leading the nation with the lowest gasoline prices was Montana, at $3.25/gal, followed by South Carolina at $3.27/gal, Louisiana at $3.28/gal, Mississippi at $3.31/gal, and Utah at $3.33/gal.

The cheapest city in the country remained Billings, MT with an average pump price of $3.19 a gallon, which was up a mere 0.6 cents per gallon in the last week.

Refinery maintenance continued, as evidenced by utilization numbers provided last Wednesday by the EIA, with inventories also declining because of refiners liquidating winter gasoline.