Japan's average gasoline price hits 3.5-month high

The average retail price of regular gasoline in Japan rose 2.50 yen from a week earlier to 155.20 yen per liter on Tuesday, the highest level since April 1, government data showed Thursday.

The price was up for the second straight week and the margin of increase was the biggest since last Aug. 27, when it gained 2.70 yen from a week before, according to the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, an affiliate of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The Oil Information Center, which conducted the survey on gasoline for the government, attributed the latest surge to an increase in Dubai crude, a price benchmark, on the back of political turmoil in Egypt and a rise in import costs stemming from the yen's depreciation against the U.S. dollar.

"The demand for the gasoline remains strong as automobiles use air conditioners more because of heat waves," said an official of the center.

The average retail price of high-octane gasoline increased 2.50 yen to 166 yen and that of gas oil 1.90 yen to 134.50 yen.