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Gas prices rise as Labor Day nears

Gas prices rise to average $3.63 a gallon nationally. In a year, gas prices have risen 95 cents.

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Gas prices are displayed at a Circle K gas station in Phoenix earlier this month. US gas prices have edged up to $3.63 a gallon nationally just before the Labor Day weekend.

Joshua Lott/Reuters/File

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U.S. retail gasoline prices rose almost a nickel to $3.63 a gallon last week, after three weeks of decreases, the U.S. Energy Department said Monday.

The national price for regular unleaded gasoline remained 94.5 cents higher than it was a year ago, the department said.

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Oil prices, which account for about 65 percent of the cost of making gasoline, rose slightly last week and traded up $1.90 on the New York Mercantile Exchange to settle at $87.27 a barrel on Monday.

Relief that damage from hurricane Irene was less severe than expected drove oil prices up on Monday.

While oil prices have begun to recover from their steep slide at the beginning of August, they remain well below levels around $100 a barrel hit last month.

Diesel prices were up a penny week-on-week to $3.82 a gallon and 88.2 cents higher from a year ago, the department said.