Motorists who purchased gasoline for their vehicles a couple of days ago are probably glad they did.

The average cost of a gallon of unleaded gasoline in Corry and Union City jumped 10 cents Tuesday — from $2.599 to $2.699.

After a number of weeks of decreases, gas prices in western Pennsylvania are heading upward. This week, motorists will find prices at the pump have increased 13.8 cents. The average cost for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline in western Pennsylvania currently is $2.609.

According to the AAA Fuel Gauge, oil prices closed well above $79 per barrel on Monday, ending the day up 91 cents at $79.44 on the New York Mercantile exchange. The closing prices marked a new high for 2009.

The driving factor behind the jump in the market price for oil is a combination of continued weakness in the U.S. dollar and brightening prospects for the start of a global economic recovery.

Given the current mood of the markets, oil prices very well might reach $80 per barrel at some point in the coming days.

If so, they will do so in spite of continued weak supply and demand fundamentals.

Economic optimism and dollar weakness can only take oil prices so far, so fast. Demand for most petroleum products, despite some signs of improvement, remains very soft.

The recent surge in oil prices has already affected retail gasoline prices. The national average retail price for a gallon of self-serve regular is $2.577.

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