The government is boosting its forecast for gasoline prices this year following an 11 percent increase since the middle of December.

Pump prices should average $3.55 a gallon in 2013, according to the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department. That's up 11 cents from EIA's forecast in January and would be the second-highest annual average ever, after last year's $3.63 a gallon.

The national average was $3.61 on Monday, the EIA says. It was $3.25 on Dec. 17.

The EIA primarily pins the increase on higher oil prices. Brent crude, the benchmark for many international varieties of oil imported to the U.S., rose $10 a barrel from mid-December to early February. That equates to about 24 cents per gallon of gas, the EIA says.

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