U.S. gas prices are rising this week, said West Virginia officials who monitor the market.

West Virginians paid $1.61 per gallon at the pump yesterday, 11 cents more per gallon than they paid last month, said Greg Beheler from AAA in Charleston.

Nationally, drivers paid $1.56 per gallon, which was the highest January rate since AAA began tracking gas prices about 10 years ago.

"All the things are there to make up high prices," he said. "If you're looking at what's happening right now with OPEC, low inventories and the cold weather, all the conditions are right for historically high prices."

The U.S. Department of Energy says crude oil inventories are the lowest since 1975, and temperatures in some parts of the Northeast are expected to fall well below 0 degrees by early today. That part of the country is the world's largest heating oil market.