U.S. Gasoline Falls 4.82 Cents to $3.38 a Gallon in Survey

The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. filling stations fell 4.82 cents to $3.3807 a gallon.

The price covers the two-week period ended Nov. 18 and is derived from a survey of about 2,500 filling stations nationwide by Camarillo, California-based analyst Trilby Lundberg.

“U.S. gasoline demand continues to deteriorate due to the poor economy,” Lundberg said yesterday in a telephone interview. The end of daylight saving time on Nov. 6 also created a “kick down” in demand as motorists “prefer not to drive in the dark.”

Gasoline for December delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 18.5 cents, or 6.9 percent, to $2.4784 a gallon in the two weeks ended Nov. 18. That’s the lowest settlement since Feb. 11. Prices have fallen 12 percent in five straight weeks of declines.

U.S. gasoline stockpiles rose 992,000 barrels in the week ended Nov. 11 to 205.2 million, according to Energy Department data. Deliveries to wholesalers, measured on a four-week average, was 5.7 percent below a year earlier.

Declining Demand

Demand at the pump fell short of year-earlier levels an 11th straight time in the week ended Nov. 11, sliding 4.4 percent from 2010 consumption, according to MasterCard Inc.’s SpendingPulse report. Averaged over four weeks, demand fell 3.4 percent, the 34th consecutive decline in that measure.

The front-month crude oil contract rose $3.15, or 3.3 percent, in the two weeks ended Nov. 18 to settle at $97.41. Crude has risen six of the past seven weeks, gaining 23 percent.

Crude prices may fall this week on expectation that the European debt crisis will spread, threatening the global economic recovery and fuel demand.

Eighteen of 36 analysts, or 50 percent, forecast oil will decline through Nov. 25. Eleven respondents, or 31 percent, predicted a gain and seven, or 19 percent, estimated there will be little change. Last week, 58 percent of surveyed analysts projected a drop.

Crude oil supplies fell 1.06 million barrels to 337 million in the week ended Nov. 11, the lowest level in three weeks, department data showed. Inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for New York-traded West Texas Intermediate oil, rose 2.9 percent to 32 million barrels.

On Long Island, regular gasoline averaged $3.64 a gallon, Lundberg said. Los Angeles-area retail stations averaged $3.77 a gallon.

The highest price in the lower 48 U.S. states among the cities surveyed on Nov. 18 was in San Francisco, where prices averaged $3.78 a gallon. The lowest price was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where a gallon averaged $2.96, Lundberg said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Chediak in San Francisco at mchediak@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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