As interest rates nationwide soar upward, local banks are also raising their rates on a range of loans, according to a survey of Maryland banks released yesterday.

The survey, carried out by the Maryland attorney general's office, shows that interest rates for personal, home improvement and auto loans went up between the middle of November and the end of the survey period last week.

It also demonstrated that it is worth shopping around for loans as bank charges vary. Larger banks tended to charge the state maximum of 18 percent on loans more than did smaller local banks.

Attorney general Stephen H. Sachs said "we think comparison shopping for consumer loans is a desirable consumer practice.

The interest charged on personal loans was also close to the 18 percent maximum newly imposed by state law, the survey found. It showed 31 of the 104 banks charged the maximum amount, while the average rate of interest statewide was 16.6 percent on personal loans.

New car loan interest rates were generally well below the maximum level. The survey showed most banks charging between 14 and 16 percent with the statewide interest average at 14.8 percent.

Home improvement loans also remained below the 18 percent ceiling with the average interest rate at 16.1 percent.