updated 9/20/2004 5:48:34 PM ET 2004-09-20T21:48:34

The retail price of gasoline rose to an average of $1.87 per gallon, the Energy Department reported Monday.

The government survey said the average price nationwide of regular-grade unleaded gasoline increased 2 cents last week to $1.866. Prices are 22.3 cents higher than a year ago.

Average nationwide prices peaked at $2.06 a gallon during the week ending May 22.

Pump prices are highest on the West Coast, averaging $2.034 per gallon, and cheapest on the Gulf Coast, averaging $1.757 per gallon. In the Midwest, gas averages $1.848 per gallon.

One of the key factors behind the high price of gasoline is the soaring cost of oil, the result of terrorism fears, strong demand and supply concerns.

The price of light crude for October delivery rose by 76 cents to settle at $46.35 a barrel Monday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The nation's supply of commercially available gasoline is about 4 percent higher than last year at 202.5 million barrels, according to the Energy Department. Crude inventories stand at 278.6 million barrels, or 1 percent lower than last year.

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