Motorists heading out for the long July 4th weekend will find that filling up the family car is getting more costly.
Retail prices for gasoline have climbed over the past week and are headed back toward a national average of $2.80 to $2.90 per gallon with higher prices on the West Coast, said Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service.
Prices dropped for about six weeks as oil prices fell over worries that the European debt crisis could spread and crush the global economic recovery and demand for crude.
Those worries have since ebbed, oil is rising again and the stock market has started to recover some of its recent losses.
Kloza said he expects the price increases to be modest.
"Much higher prices would roil the economic picture, and the oil price rally has been largely on the coattails of the stock market recovery," he said.
Prices rose 0.3 cent to a national average of $2.737 per gallon on Monday, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. Prices have risen 3.9 cents in the past week and are 7.5 cents below levels of a month ago. Pump prices are 4.4 cents higher than a year ago.
The government's Energy Information Administration will release its weekly report on retail gasoline prices later Monday.
Oil prices gave up earlier gains on Monday afternoon. China's move to end its currency's peg to the dollar initially fanned enthusiasm for crude, since a stronger yuan will make dollar-based commodities like oil cheaper in China and bolster demand. But uncertainty about how quickly China may implement currency changes put a damper on rising prices and knocked oil back. Crude lost 21 cents at $76.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after rising as high as $78.92.
Another currrency development also brought oil down: the euro faded against the dollar. A stronger dollar makes oil less attractive to investors holding foreign currency.
In other Nymex trading, heating oil lost 0.30 cent at $2.1259 a gallon, gasoline dropped 2.08 cents to $2.1268 a gallon and natural gas fell 16.7 cents to $4.830 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Brent crude lost 34 cents at $77.88 on the ICE futures exchange.
Associated Press writers Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow and Alex Kennedy in Singapore contributed to this report.
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