U.S. Gasoline Rises to $2.91 a Gallon, Lundberg Says

The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. filling stations rose 3.92 cents to $2.9121 a gallon, according to a survey.

The price covers the two-week period ended Dec. 3 and is determined from data provided by 2,500 filling stations nationwide to Trilby Lundberg, an independent gasoline analyst in Camarillo, California.

Crude oil for January delivery surged 9.4 percent in the two weeks ended Dec. 3, rising $7.68 to $89.19 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude oil gained as the dollar dropped 1.9 percent against the euro, reducing the investment appeal of dollar-denominated commodities.

“What we’re seeing is really just the tip of the iceberg,” Lundberg said today in a telephone interview. “At the retail level, we could see another six to eight more cents” per gallon as refiners pass through higher crude costs.

Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News were split over the direction of crude oil prices next week amid signals the U.S. economic recovery is accelerating while stockpiles climb.

Ten of 28 analysts, or 36 percent, forecast crude will advance through Dec. 10. Ten more respondents predicted that futures will be steady. Eight said there will be a decline. Last week, 42 percent of analysts expected the market to be little changed.

Price Stability

U.S. crude-oil supplies 1.07 million barrels to 359.7 million in the week ended Nov. 26, an Energy Department report showed Dec. 1. Crude inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for New York futures, increased 910,000 barrels to 34.5 million.

Gasoline for front-month delivery gained 7.1 percent to $2.3521 a gallon in the two weeks ended Dec. 3.

U.S. gasoline stockpiles rose 561,000 barrels to 210.1 million in the week ended Nov. 26, the second consecutive increase. Supplies are 1.8 percent below a year earlier and 4 percent above the five-year average for the period. Crude oil inventories were 10 percent above the five-year average.

Demand for gasoline, as measured by what refiners and blenders supply to wholesalers rose 0.4 percent to 8.87 million barrels a day. Averaged over four weeks, consumption was 0.5 percent below than a year earlier.

U.S. gasoline demand at the pump in the week ended Nov. 26 rose 2.3 percent from the prior week, according to MasterCard Inc. in its Nov. 30 SpendingPulse report.

On Long Island, regular gasoline averaged $3.21 a gallon, the highest price in the continental U.S., Lundberg said. Los Angeles-area retail stations averaged $3.12 a gallon.

The cheapest place to buy the fuel was Denver, where a gallon averaged $2.61, Lundberg said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Carroll in Chicago at jcarroll8@bloomberg.net; Barbara J. Powell in Dallas at bpowell4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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